Blackboard

Blackboard is a powerful e-learning system, where instructors can bring their lessons to the web. You can upload your syllabus, lecture notes, presentations, or any other type of file including pictures, movies and sound clips. You can also create online exams and assignments that Blackboard will automatically grade. Instructors can even create discussion boards and hold virtual office hours through chat rooms. All courses taught at the university have a corresponding Blackboard course and all students and the instructor of record are automatically enrolled. Follow the steps below to get started with Blackboard.

Basic Information
How to Access
  • Access to the Blackboard system is available at bb.owu.edu. Two links will be displayed on the main page: one for “current students, faculty, or staff members,” and one for guests. Click on the first link. From there, enter your username and password.
  • To access the OWU Blackboard from the OWU home page, click on either the Current Students tab or the Faculty/Staff tab. From there, scroll down to the resources list, click on the Blackboard link, and follow the steps listed above.

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Session Timeouts

There are two ways that your Blackboard Learn web session might expire and log you out of Blackboard. One is your general Blackboard session, and the other is while grading an assignment via the inline grading tool in a course.

  1. When you first logs into Blackboard, the clock starts ticking on your general session. That timer resets with every action you take within the overall Learn system. After 3 hours of inactivity, your session status changes to inactive, and you may be automatically logged out. There will not be any notification of this–the next action you try to take on the site will fail, and you may lose anything that you had been working on. You will then have to log back in again.
  2. Instructors, when you first open an assignment for grading, using the inline editor, the clock starts ticking on your Crocodoc session. That timer resets with every action you take within the inline grading system. After 30 minutes of inactivity, you will be warned that your session is about to expire, and you may reset the timer. If you don’t, or the warning message is unheeded, you will lose any work you’ve done in that Crocodoc interface, and you will have to log into Blackboard again.

Please note that if you have Blackboard open in multiple tabs, one of them may expire and cause you to be logged out of the tab you’re actively working in. So close browser tabs you’re not using.
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How to select a language pack as your personal settings
  1. In the Tools section, click Personal Information
  2. In Personal Information section, select Change Personal Settings
  3. Under Select Language Pack, choose your User Language Pack from the drop down list.
  4. Click the Submit button.

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User Accounts
  • A Blackboard user account is automatically generated for each current student and each teaching faculty member at least five weeks prior to the start of each semester. Updates are loaded each day thereafter through the last add/drop date in that semester.
  • If access to Blackboard is required by other individuals please contact the Help Desk to request a Blackboard account.
  • Blackboard accounts of OWU faculty, staff and students use their OWU BishopApps username and password.

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Courses
  • Blackboard may be used in a course at the instructor’s discretion. Not all instructors use Blackboard. Instructors must opt-in by making their course available. Until they do, it will be invisible to the students.
  • The Blackboard course ID is composed of the year (yyyy), the semester (FA, SP or SU), the course id and section, e.g. 2011SPEDUC1101.
  • A Blackboard course will be generated for every class on the academic schedule each semester.
  • Blackboard courses will be available for modification five weeks before the beginning of the semester.
  • Previous course content can be copied into a new course. This is helpful when you want to move content from a current course to the course for the next semester (or to a different section of the same course).
  • In addition to the “look” of the course, all Blackboard courses are generated with the following defaults. Any of these settings can be modified for individual courses.
  1. Availability: Unavailable – students are not able to view a Blackboard course until the status is changed to “Available”.
  2. Enrollment: All course enrollments are nightly automatically uploaded in batch according to official Registrar information.
  3. Guest Availability: No

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Linking a Professor with courses

Professors are “linked” with Blackboard courses based on information in Self-Service. If no professor is listed (or if it is listed as “Staff”) then no link is made during the automated loading of the courses.
When you log into your Blackboard course, you should see all of the courses you are teaching (and also any courses in which you are enrolled).
If a course is not listed, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

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Course Archiving and Purging

Courses in Blackboard are maintained for a period of 5 years. After that time, they are archived and deleted. Historic courses may be restored in Blackboard or copies of the archived courses may be obtained on request.

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Learn More
  • You can find more information about Blackboard on their website here: Blackboard Help

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Instructors
Make Course Available

You have uploaded your syllabus, but students do not yet have access to the file. Before students can enter your course, you must make it available to them.

To make your course Available:* Expand the “Customization” area of the course’s Control Panel.

  • Click the “Properties” link.
  • Choose “Yes” under number 3, “Set Availability” to designate your course as available to students.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Submit” to save your changes.

If you are teaching multiple courses, follow these steps to upload your syllabus and make your other courses available.

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Problems Playing Youtube Videos

Most of the latest browsers have gotten more strict about blocking unsecured content on secured web sites, such as our Blackboard system. The embedded YouTube video mashup calls the video using HTTP instead of HTTPS. That’s why the frame and Player Controls button only will appear in some browsers but no video will load. There are two workarounds for this problem:

  1. To use the embedded mashup tool, you’ll need to switch to HTML editing view and replace all HTTP references with HTTPS.
    1. Insert the Youtube mashup.
    2. Edit the content item.
    3. While editing, click the Toggle HTML Source Mode button, that looks like “< >”. You will see the HTML code.
    4. Press Ctrl+F on a PC or Command+F on a Mac to find the first instance of “HTTP” and add an S at the end. Repeat until they all have the S.
    5. Save and close your the content item. The video should work embedded now in all browsers.
  2. Instead of embedding the YouTube video on the page and going through the steps above, add a URL content item and point it to the full YouTube.com page for the video. Set it to open in a new window to ensure that Blackboard opens the whole page.

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Login

If you are a current instructor, your Blackboard account has already been created. You can log into Blackboard with your OWU BishopApps username and password. If you are a new instructor, you must be fully processed through Human Resources before you can access your Blackboard account. If you were recently processed, you must wait up to 48 hours for the Blackboard system to receive your information from the employee database. After this time, you will need to use your OWU BishopApps username and password to log in to Blackboard. Log into Blackboard with your username and password. You should see your courses listed in the “My Courses” module on the right. Instructors are “linked” with Blackboard courses based on information in Jenzabar. If no instructor is listed (or if it is listed as “Staff”) then no link is made during the automated loading of the courses. If a course is not listed, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

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Cleaning Up Your Course List

When you log into Blackboard there is a My Courses module (that is moveable if you’d like to bring it up to the top) that shows courses you’re teaching and courses you’re enrolled in (if any.) If left alone this list will show all the courses you’ve ever taught at OWU since we started using Blackboard back in 2006. Here’s how to weed out any classes you don’t want to see there, so the module is easier to use:

  1. Click on the gear icon at the top right of the module. This takes you to a Personalize: My Courses page showing you the same list with check boxes for various display options.
  2. Use the Select All/Unselect All check box at the left to select/deselect all of the options for that row. Deselect any and all course rows that you no longer wish to see in the module. You may choose to display or hide various elements of the Blackboard course, such as the name, ID, Instructors, Announcements, Tasks, and Calendar Events.
  3. Click the Submit button at either the top or bottom of the page.

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Upload Your Syllabus

Click on the name of the course you want to upload your syllabus into. This will take you into your course. Be sure that the Edit Mode button in the upper right-hand corner is set to “ON.”You should see a course menu on the left-hand side of your screen. If you click through the menu buttons, you will notice that several of them contain no content. This section will walk you through uploading your syllabus, but first, you need to have your syllabus saved as a word or text document.

Tip: Do not use spaces or special characters (e.g. #,+,*) for file names because some students may not be able to open the file depending on their computer settings. Only use letter, number and underscores. For example, use “english_comp_101.doc”instead of “English Comp-101.doc”. Never use an ampersand (&).
To upload your syllabus:

  • Click the “Documents” link in the Course Menu.
  • Hover over the “Build Content”button and click “Syllabus” in the drop down list.
  • Under 1. Name section, enter the Syllabus Name into the text box provided.
  • Under 2. Syllabus, select Use Existing File.
  • Click the “Browse My Computer”button to locate your syllabus (located on your computer).
  • Once you have located the syllabus on your computer, click to highlight the file and then click the “Open” button.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Submit” to save your changes to Blackboard.

Congratulations! You have uploaded your syllabus to Blackboard. You can use these same steps to upload any file to Blackboard, including PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, pictures, or even short video clips.

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Set a Language Pack
  1. Select the course you want to modify.
  2. Open the Customization drop-down menu and select Properties.
  3. Under Section 6. Select Language Pack, choose your Language Pack from the drop down list. This will be used for buttons, titles, and other text supplied by the system within that course.
  4. Optionally, put a check mark next to Enforce Language Pack. This will override individual student’s language choices.
  5. Click the Submit button.

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Customizing Course Navigation

To customize the course navigation you will be adding to the course menu. You can add links on the Course Menu to items in the course. Items include: Content Areas that provide direct access to content items such as Learning Modules, Tests, and Lesson Plans; tools such as Email and My Grades; internal or external links; and elements that help organize the menu, like a divider.

Here are instructions on how to do this.

  1. Click the Add icon (+) above the Course
    Menu.
  2. Select the item from the list.
  3. Type the Name of the content item in the
    Name field.
  4. Click Submit.

Below are two (2) different examples of what the Course Menu may look like:

custom_course_example3custom_course_example2

 

As you can see, you may easily organize your course by module, type of content, or week.

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Enrolling Students

Students are enrolled in Blackboard courses based on official Registrar information. This information is automatically refreshed (upload only–no drops or deletions) until the last add/drop date for that semester. Faculty may manually enroll individual students in their Blackboard courses by following these steps:

Note: These steps are not recommended for combining classes or merging courses. See Merging Courses below.

  1. Select the course in which you wish to enroll the student.
  2. Under Control Panel, in the Users and Groups section, click Users.
  3. Find and click ‘Find Users to Enroll’.
  4. Add the username of the student in the Username field. (Our usernames are the first part of our OWU email address–what comes before the ‘@’ sign.) You may enter more than one at a time by separating the usernames with commas. Alternatively, you can use the Browse option to search for students.
  5. Select a role; ‘Student’ is the default.
  6. Click Submit.

Faculty may also remove students from their courses by using the Remove Users from the Users page, by highlighting the selected users and clicking the ‘Remove Users From Class’ button. Note that when students log into their Blackboard accounts, they will only see the courses they are enrolled in and that are marked as available. If a course is not listed as it should be, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

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Merging Courses

The Course Relationship Management feature automatically manages multiple sections of the same course. A system administrator will have to set one (or more) of your courses as child courses of a master course. Then, in the master course, you’ll be able to see which course students are actually enrolled in and our automatic enrollment integration won’t be affected.

Just send a request to helpdesk@owu.edu and let us know which course you’d like to use as the master and which course(s) to link as child. It’s best if you haven’t created any content or had any interactions in the child course(s) before merging.

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Copy Course Content
  1. First, you must be in the course you wish to copy content from. You must also be enrolled as Instructor in both courses.
  2. Under Control Panel, click on Packages and Utilities and select Course Copy.
  3. For Copy Type, select Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course.
  4. Type in the Destination Course ID under Select Copy Options or click the Browse button to find it.
  5. Now select specifically what you want to copy. You must have something selected under Select Course Materials. Note: If you wish to copy Assignments, you must also copy the Grade Center.
  6. Click the Submit button. When the operation is successful, you will receive an email in your OWU inbox and a confirmation message will appear at the top of the destination course.

Note: Please do not use this method to merge enrollments of multiple course sections. Information Services can merge courses using Course Relationship Management, which has some distinct advantages over manually copying enrollments. Simply send a request to helpdesk@owu.edu with the course IDs for the courses you’d like to merge, and which one you’d like to use as the master course.

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Adding Instructors

Instructors assigned to courses in Self-Service are automatically enrolled in the corresponding Blackboard courses based on Registrar’s information. Faculty may manually enroll additional professors in their courses by following the same steps for enrolling a student, above, using the faculty’s username instead of a student’s, and setting the Role for them to Instructor, Teaching Assistant, Course Builder, or Grader, depending on the level of access desired. A description of each is available on the Blackboard Help page on Course Roles.

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Why Electronic Submission?
  • Save Paper
  • Save Time
  • End debates over deadlines
  • Better Comments
  • Reduce Clutter
  • Avoid Germs
  • Facilitate Rewrites
  • Easy Access
  • Permanent Access

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Creating Assignments

1. Click on the course that you would like to add an assignment for, make sure the edit mode (right side of the page below the red header) is turned on.

2. You may create assignments in any content area, such as Readings or Assignments found in the navigation menu, on the left side of the page under the course description.

3. Once in a content area, four drop down buttons will appear in the grey header in the middle of the page. Hover over the Assessments button and a drop down menu will appear. Then click Assignment on the drop down menu.

4. On the Create Assignment page you must name the assignment and assign possible points. The assignment can either be typed out or you may upload it as a file. To upload a file go to section 2, labeled Assignment Files and click the Browse My Computer button to find the file you are looking for.

5. You may adjust the due date, availability, and grading before the assignment is submitted. To submit the assignment and allow students access to it, click the submit button at the top or bottom of the page.

For more information see the Getting Started with Assignments Guide.

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Creating Mastery Quizzes
  1. In Course Content select “Assessments” and then choose “Test”
  2. Select “Create a New Test”
  3. Provide Name and Description/Instructions
  4. Create Questions and select the type of question you wish to create.
  5. [Enter the question content, points, type of feedback, etc.]
  6. When test design is complete, add the test to the course content by clicking “submit”.
  7. Finally select your test options.

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Test Availability Exceptions

You can create individual or group exceptions to the default test availability:

  1. Go into the course and into the area where you posted the test for the students to find it.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over the test item and click the action button that appears.
  3. Select ‘Edit the Test Options’ from the pop-up menu.
  4. Scroll down to the TEST AVAILABILITY EXCEPTIONS section, and click the ‘Add User or Group’ button.
  5. Select Jason in the list of enrolled students and click the Submit button at the bottom.
  6. Make sure the number of Attempts shown for this excepted student is what you want.
  7. Click the calendar button under Availability, and set the availability of the test for him.
  8. Click the Save button in the pop-up window., then click the Submit button at top or bottom of the Test Options.

Note: Using Test Availability Exceptions in Blackboard (Test Options) hides the “Availability: Item is not available. It will be available after…” in the content area because it now has more than one availability setting. If you turn Edit Mode off, the test will disappear if it is outside the default availability timeframe.

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Creating Blog Assignments

Create Learning Teams

      1. Under “Create” tab in the Content Areas select “Single Group”
      2. Select “Manual Enroll”
      3. Create group name
      4. Make sure “blog” is selected in Tool Availability and
      5. Under Membership select users you want to be added into your group.
      6. Finally select “Submit” to add your group.

Create Blog Assignments

      1. In your created group select “Group Blog” under the Group Tools.
      2. Click on “Create Blog Entry”
      3. Enter your prompt and attach any documents you want.
      4. Finally select “Post”

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Using SafeAssign

To access SafeAssign in Blackboard 9.1: – Under the Course Management section, open the Control Panel, and open the Course Tools drop-down menu. SafeAssign should be available there. – Alternatively, click on Content in your class section. Expand the Create Assessment drop-down menu. SafeAssign should be one of the options. To watch a video tutorial on using Safassign, click here. To make SafeAssign visible in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel:

      1. In the course Control Panel, expand Customization.
      2. Select Tool Availability.
      3. Scroll down to SafeAssign and put a check mark in the first box (Available).
      4. Click the Submit button at the top or bottom of the screen.

In SafeAssign, the overall score is an indicator of what percentage of the submitted paper matches existing sources. This score is a warning indicator only and papers should be reviewed to see if the matches are properly attributed.

      • Scores below 15 percent: These papers typical include some quotes and few common phrases or blocks of text that match other documents. These papers typically do not require further analysis, as there is no evidence of the possibility of plagiarism in these papers.
      • Scores between 15 and 40 percent:These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material or they may include plagiarism. These papers should be reviewed to determine if the matching content is properly attributed.
      • Scores over 40 percent: There is a very high probability that text in this paper was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess and should be reviewed for plagiarism.

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Using The Grade Center

Getting started with the Grade Center Getting_Started_With_the_Grade_Center_PDF, produced by Blackboard.

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Create a Personal Archive of Your Course

While Information Services has archived copies of historic courses that may be restored on request, you may create a personal archive copy of your course at any time.

  1. Go to your Course Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Export/Archive Course.
  2. Select the option of your choice. “Export Course” creates a package of course content that can later be imported into the same course or a different course. “Archive Course” creates a permanent record of a course including all the content and user interactions available at the time the Archive is created.
  3. Select copy options and file attachment settings, and click the Submit button. You may calculate the package size before you do, and manage the package contents.
  4. A zip file will be downloaded to your computer.

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How to Learn More
    • Blackboard 9 is designed to be fairly simple to use, and information as well as help is placed at convenient locations while you are using it.
    • Workshops on Blackboard are offered two or three times per semester. Announcements for upcoming sessions appear in the OWU Daily. The current workshop schedule is posted on the Information Services web site.
    • If you have additional questions, contact us.

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Comparison of Blackboard to Self-Service
More Information

Contacting the primary Blackboard Administrator David Soliday 740-368-3130 dcsolida@owu.edu You may also contact the Help Desk for Blackboard requests and issues.

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Joining the IS Professional Development Course

Information Services Professional Development offers a Blackboard course for faculty and staff. This online Blackboard course is offered in an effort to enhance and augment in-person training opportunities. Here you’ll find training videos and links to additional resources, as well as surveys and discussion forums on workshop topics. It’s an example of blended learning, combining face-to-face (F2F) with online activity, sometimes referred to as hybrid teaching or ‘flipping’ the classroom.

To Self Enroll:

    1. Click ‘My Courses‘ at the top left
    2. Enter “Information Services” into the course search box on the left
    3. Click ‘GO
    4. Click enroll in the choices below the course ID “ISPROFDEV
      —Hover under ID and click arrow that appears for action options
    5. Enter “OWUISPROFDEV” in the Access Code box
    6. Click ‘Submit
    7. Click ‘OK

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Class Discussions
How to set up class discussions

There are several ways instructors may set up online discussions with students in Blackboard. Most of them are asynchronous, while virtual office hours are live. All of them, other than virtual office hours, can be used with specific user groups.

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Discussion Forum

These are threaded conversations organized by topic. Contributions to Blackboard discussion forums may be graded assignments and assigned to groups. See how to create one here.

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Blogs

Blogs are short blurbs, essays, or articles arranged chronologically with comments (responses) below. Blogs in Blackboard may be graded assignments and assigned to groups of students. See how to create one here.

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Wikis

Wikis are editable web pages. They may be used for free-form conversations and brainstorming, as well as collaborative composition and revision. This feature automatically records version history to track who has made each change and when. Wikis in Blackboard may be graded assignments and assigned to groups. See how to create one here.

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Virtual Office Hours

Office Hours in Blackboard is a chat room that all students in the course may join. This cannot be automatically added to the Grade Center or assigned to individual groups. It is a good tool for answering questions and discussing in realtime. You will have to communicate at what time(s) you will be available. (What are your virtual office hours?)

To open Office Hours either click the Tools navigation button and then Collaboration, or select Collaboration from the Course Tools section of the Control Panel. There you will find Office Hours. Clicking the “Office Hours” link will take you directly into the chat room (which opens as a Java applet–you may be prompted to download and/or enable a plugin.

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Students
Cleaning Up Your Course List

When you log into Blackboard there is a My Courses module (located on the home page and is moveable if you’d like to bring it up to the top) that shows courses you’re enrolled in. If left alone this list will show all the courses you’ve ever taken at OWU since we started using Blackboard back in 2006. Here’s how to weed out any classes you don’t want to see there, so the module is easier to use:

  1. Move your mouse over the module. This should outline the box in dark gray.
  2. Click on the gear icon at the top right of the module. This takes you to a Personalize: My Courses page showing you the same list with check boxes for various display options.
  3. Use the Select All/Unselect All check box at the left to select/deselect all of the options for that row. Deselect any and all course rows that you no longer wish to see in the module. You may choose to display or hide various elements of the Blackboard course, such as the name, ID, Instructors, Announcements, Tasks, and Calendar Events.
  4. Click the Submit button at either the top or bottom of the page.
That’s all there is to it!

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Login

From the OWU home page, select Blackboard from the Current Student tab or go directly to http://bb.owu.edu. Enter your OWU username and password (the same ones you use for BishopApps). You should see your courses listed in the “My Courses” module in the center of the screen.

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Enter a course

The “My Courses” module lists your current Blackboard courses. Courses you enroll in through the Registrar will be listed in Blackboard within 24 to 48 hours. Courses with an “(unavailable)” title to their right have not been made available to students by the instructor.

Assignments
Each course has an Assignments tab, which lists the name, description, and attachments for class work. Students complete the Assignment in a separate file and send it back to the Instructor. They can include comments for the Instructor if they choose. Assignments may be individual or given to every member of a Course Group.

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How to submit an assignment

On the Upload Assignment page, Students can add comments and specify files to attach.
Follow the steps below to submit an Assignment:

      1. Select the Content Area from the Course Menu that holds the Assignment. For example, the Assignments area.
      2. Click the name of the Assignment. The Upload Assignment page appears.
      3. Complete the Assignment Materials text box if necessary.
      4. Click Browse My Computer and select a file to attach.
      5. Enter a Link Title. If the field is left blank, then the file name becomes the link.
      6. Complete the Comments field if necessary.
      7. Click Submit when the page is complete.

Instructors may create Assignments where Students do not need to attach files to complete them; Students can submit an Assignment without attaching a file. If Submit is selected, and no files are listed to attach, the Assignment is submitted and is no longer available to the Student to complete.
Assignments can only be submitted once!

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How to view instructor feedback on an assignment
      1. Access your course. Click Tools from the Course Menu.
      2. Select the My Grades link.
      3. On the My Grades page, assignments and grades will be listed. If the assignment has been submitted and graded, the points will be displayed. Click the grade link to view your submission history along with instructor feedback.
      4. Click OK to return to the My Gradespage.

Note: An exclamation point indicates that the assignment has been submitted successfully and is waiting to be graded by the instructor. A paper and pencil icon indicates that the assignment has not been submitted because it is saved as a draft.

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How to download your instructor's comments on your paper
  1. Open your submission from the assignment (where you submitted it) or by clicking on the assignment in My Grades.
  2. Click the Download button.
  3. Select “Download annotated PDF”.


Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_1.40.10_PM

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Your courses online

Blackboard is where your instructors upload their syllabus, lecture notes and other course material. You can download this material online from on campus or at home. All courses taught at the university have a corresponding Blackboard course and all students and instructors are automatically enrolled. Please note that this does not, however, indicate whether your instructor is choosing to use Blackboard within their course. Check with your instructor to see if they have made any course content available to you online.

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Responding to a Discussion Topic

To respond to a discussion topic or forum on Blackboard, go to the “Discussion” tab in the course. Hover over the topic that you want to respond to until you see a little drop down arrow next to the topic title. Click Open. At the top of the screen, click the Create Thread tab. You will now have access to a field where you can fill in your answer or attach a document. You may save unfinished answers by selecting the Save as Draft tab at the top of the page. Otherwise, select the Submit button when you are finished.

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Learning More
    • “Training workshops on Blackboard are offered a few times each semester. Announcements about upcoming workshops are included in the OWU Daily. The current workshop schedule is posted on the Information Services Professional Development page. Individual instruction and specialized group sessions are available by request.”
    • If you have additional questions contact the Help Desk

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Related Information

Contact the Help Desk for Blackboard requests and issues.