Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Chapter 1

Welcome to the

Blackboard Learning System

Introduction

The

Blackboard Learning System

is a comprehensive and flexible e-Learning software platform that delivers a complete course management system. While the

Blackboard

Learning System,

and the

Blackboard Learning System

- Basic Edition are all course management systems, the

Blackboard Learning System

includes advanced integration tools and APIs to seamlessly assimilate the

Blackboard Learning System

with existing institution systems. Furthermore, the

Blackboard Learning System

includes additional customization features and the ability to build out the platform with Blackboard

System Extensions. Finally, the

Blackboard Portal System

includes a customizable institution-wide portal with online communities.

Blackboard Building Blocks allows institutions to integrate external applications, tools, content, and services into the

Blackboard Learning System

.

The following are some things to keep in mind when using the

Blackboard Learning

System

:

 Due to the fact that the

Blackboard Portal System

and the

Blackboard Learning

System

are highly flexible and customizable platforms, which can integrate third party applications, there may be certain tools that are not documented.

 System Administrators have the ability to disable certain tools within the application. If you encounter tools that you are unable to access contact your

System Administrator.

 The openness of the platform allows Instructors and Administrators to be very creative; therefore, the names for items users see in the application may differ from those in the documentation.

The

Blackboard Learning System

environment

The

Blackboard Learning System

environment includes a header frame with images and buttons customized by the institution and tabs that navigate to different areas within the

Blackboard Learning System

. Clicking on a tab will open that area in the content frame. Web pages containing specific content, features, functions, and tools are accessed from the common areas.

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Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Header frame

The header frame contains a customizable institution image and navigation buttons that allow the user to access the institution home page, access the Blackboard help, and logoff of the

Blackboard Learning System

.

The table below details the buttons that appear in the header frame and their functions.

Button Description

Click

Home

to return to an institution home page. This URL is set by the system administrator.

Click

Help

to access an institution defined help site. This URL is set by the System Administrator.

Click

Logout

to end a session.

Common Areas

Blackboard Learning System

and

Blackboard Learning System

– Basic Edition include two common areas for users:

My Institution:

The My Institution common area contains tools and information specific to each user ’ s preferences. Tools and information are contained in modules, which users can add and remove from their My

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Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Institution common area. While users can choose which modules appear, the

Administrator may restrict access to or require specific modules.

Courses

: Courses are listed by role: courses that a user teaches as an

Instructor and courses that a user takes as a Student. Users click on a course from the Courses common area to access the course Web site.

Users also have access to the following common areas with the

Blackboard Portal

System

:

Community:

The Community common area lists organizations specific to each user, the Organization Catalog for the institution, and institution-wide

Discussion Boards. User organizations are listed by role: organizations that a user administrates as a manager and organizations that a user participates in as a member. Users simply click on an organization from the Community common area to access the organization Web site.

Services:

The Services common area contains links to other institutional offerings outside of the

Blackboard Learning System

. The links are set by the

System Administrator and cannot be modified by an individual user.

In addition, the

Blackboard Portal System

enables the institution to create custom tabs and present a different environment, or Portal, to users based on the User ’ s role at the institution.

Tabs

The tabs are navigation tools that access the common areas of the

Blackboard

Learning System

. Tabs also appear in search boxes as a means of changing the search parameters.

Click on a tab to access that common area.

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Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Content frame

The content frame always contains one of the following pages:

Common area

: The area that appears in the content frame when a tab is clicked. Common areas hold broad information and allow the user to access

Web pages containing specific content and features.

Web page

: A Web page appears in the content frame when accessed through one of the navigational tools described below. Web pages contain specific content or features and originate from common areas.

Navigating within the

Blackboard Learning System

The

Blackboard Learning System

contains several ways to move from one area or page to the next. Only the material in the content frame changes when moving to a new area or page. The tabs and header frame are always available for quick access to those navigation features.

The table below describes each navigation tool available in the

Blackboard Learning

System

.

Tab

Navigation Tool Description

Click a tab to navigate to a common area. Top-level navigation is always available no matter what page or area appears in the content frame.

Button

Link

Image

Click a button to navigate to a page within the

Blackboard Learning

System

. Some buttons also lead to areas outside of the

Blackboard

Learning System

. In addition, buttons execute functions.

Click a hypertext link to access another Web page within the

Blackboard Learning System

. The page will appear in the content frame.

Links can also open Web sites outside of the

Blackboard Learning System

.

Click an image to navigate to another page. The customized images that appear in the platform can be linked by the Administrator to another URL.

Click one of the hypertext links that appear in the navigation path to access that page. The navigation path appears at the top of pages to allow users to quickly return to the previous page that led to the current page.

Path

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Blackboard Academic Suite User Manual

Course Web Sites

Overview

Each course offered by an institution is hosted on a Web site. A course Web site consists of a navigation path, a Course menu, and a content frame. The navigation path allows users to return to any page accessed between the main course page and the current page. The Course menu links users to the available content areas and tools. The content frame displays Web pages accessed through the buttons or navigation path.

Organization Web Sites

Organization Web sites function in the same way as course Web sites. The organization Manager uses the flexible learning tools of a course Web site to provide an online environment for the organization. Organizations are only available with the

Blackboard Portal System

.

Linking to a course Web site

To create a link to a course Web site, simply copy the URL from the address bar in the

Web. Links to course Web sites can be posted inside the

Blackboard Learning System

or externally. In either case, the user will be prompted for authorization before accessing the course Web site.

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Blackboard Academic Suite

Functions

User Manual

The table below includes information on the components of a course Web site. The names of the areas are customizable by the Instructor or the System Administrator.

Area

Announcements

Staff Information

Content Areas

Assignments

Communication

External Links

Tools

Description

Announcements post timely information critical to course success. Announcements occupy the Main

Frame upon entry to a course Web site and can also appear on the My Institution and Courses area depending on system configuration.

Click

Announcements

from the course Web site tool bar to view course Announcements.

Staff Information provides background and contact information on course Instructors and Teaching

Assistants.

Content areas can contain a wide-range of content items including:

Course Information – Course Information displays descriptive materials about the course. Materials usually posted here include the syllabus and course objectives.

Course Documents – Course Documents may include learning materials and lesson aids, such as lecture notes.

Assignments lists the due date and description for class work. The Instructor posts assignments and can modify the instructions and due date. Students may view files the Instructor has attached to an Assignment. They may also attach files to an Assignment to submit to the

Instructor.

Course users communicate through the Communication

Center. The Communication Center allow users to:

 send and receive email

 read and post messages to Discussion Boards

 enter the Virtual Classroom

 view Student roster

 view Group pages

External Links connects course users to outside learning materials. Instructors may select outside materials and post a hyperlink and brief description for each external source.

Tools that can be used in the course Web site. These include: Digital Drop Box, Edit Home Page, Personal

Information, Calendar, View Grades, Student Manual,

Tasks, The Electric Blackboard®, and Address Book.

Accesses the Blackboard Resource Center.

Allows course Web site navigation through a collapsible tree directory. Instructors can go directly to various course areas.

Resources

Course Map

© 2004 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential Page 13

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