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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.|
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.
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.|
|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.|
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.
|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.
|Audio/Video: Students benefit greatly by watching well done videos.|
Chickering, Arthur. “IMPLEMENTING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES: Technology as Lever.” Oct 1996. The TLT Group. 11 Oct 2004 .
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
- Blackboard 9: Avatar (profile picture)
- Blackboard: Kaltura
- Blackboard 9: Screencast-o-matic (Screen Recording - Lecture Capture)
- Blackboard 9: Office Mix (Add voice and interactivity to Powerpoint)
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!
Where can I get help?
Faculty Computing Services is here to help you. Please contact us:
- Email: FCSHelp@Hofstra.edu
- Phone: 516-463-6894
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