Preparing to use Blackboard for the new academic year – Checklist

In your preparations for the new academic year, you’ll be thinking about Blackboard, for example: how you’ll be using it in your teaching, how you’ll best structure your menu, how you’ll organise your materials and activities, how you’ll use it to help engage your students, the setting up of online submission points for assignments, and so on. The following checklist has been designed to help you ensure your Blackboard course is ready and available for the new year. You’ll also find in the list links embedded to appropriate support materials to help you as you’re working through it to ready your Blackboard module for effective use in your teaching.

 

Image of Blackboard logoImage of a checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Have I made my course available so my students can see it on their Enrolments tab?
  • Are all relevant staff enrolled on the course with the appropriate role?
  • Have I added details of all relevant staff in the Staff Contacts area in the menu?
  • Is my course menu well-structured and clear with a separate assessment section?
  • Is all the content in my course current and appropriate for this academic year?
  • Is all the content well organised and easy for my students to find?
  • Have I added details about the module in the About section of the menu, e.g. module handbook?
  • Are any Blackboard and/or Turnitin Assignment submission points set up with the correct settings and dates for this academic year?
  • If I have any tests in my course, have they been deployed with the correct settings and dates?
  • Have I set up links to my online Talis reading lists?
  • Have I posted a Welcome Announcement in the Announcement section?

You might also want to ask yourself: Have I signed up for the relevant TEL staff development sessions to help me make the most of Blackboard and Turnitin in my teaching this year?

We hope this is useful as you prepare for the new term!

 

How to customise your Blackboard menu (screencast)

Is the menu on your Blackboard module easy to navigate? Do you make use of features like emboldened sub-headers and dividers to present a clear menu to your students? Do you know how to customise your menu to best suit your purposes? This short screen cast video shows you how to do all these things to help you present a clear, easy-to-use menu for your students.

 

Displaying ‘non-secure’ content in Blackboard

Do you add presentations, video, images or audio that are stored on external websites into your modules on Blackboard using embed code?

If you include resources or content from certain websites using embed code, then recent improvements to browser security settings can affect how this content can be viewed and prevents it from automatically displaying in Blackboard.

Internet browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, have improved their security settings for what is described as ‘mixed content’. Browsers now prevent ‘non-secure’ content that is stored on other websites being viewed in ‘secure’ websites such as Blackboard.

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Which browser works ‘best’ with Blackboard?

Image: CC0 Public Domain: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-note-man-person-460868/ (downloaded 12-11-15)

Image: CC0 Public Domain: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-note-man-person-460868/ (downloaded 12-11-15)

The TEL team are often asked which browser to use with Blackboard. We thought it was worth sharing a few tips and recommendations to help you – whichever browser you chose to use. Blackboard is compatible with the main browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Edge. It’s worth checking this list of support browsers to make sure the version of your browser is supported.

Our preferred browsers for working with Blackboard are currently Chrome or Firefox. In our training sessions, we advise staff to use one of these two browsers.

Chrome and MS Edge

If you are using Chrome, please be aware of he issue of Plug-ins not working in Google Chrome.

You might also be aware that the latest versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browser (for Windows 10) do not support a type of plug-in that is used in some live chat tools and some media players. Any tools that use this plug-in aren’t supported by Blackboard in these browsers. This issue also prevents you from using the multiple file upload feature in FileShare.

Internet Explorer

If you like to use Internet Explorer (IE), to make Blackboard work correctly you will need to turn off ‘compatibility view’.

Further details on how to tackle common issues using IE with Blackboard can be found on the on the Blackboard help site.

Test your Browser

Our best advice is to check out Blackboard’s Support for Staff tab where you’ll find the Browser Test feature. This allows you to check the compatibility of your browser with Blackboard and other features.

Beneath that, Technical Support has links to other information to help you identify how well various browsers work with Blackboard. The same browser test and information is also available for students on the Support for Students tab.

We hope you find this helpful!

How to organise your courses on your Enrolments tab in Blackboard

Is your Courses section on your Enrolments tab on Blackboard a bit cluttered? Do you see a long list of courses perhaps displayed in no particular order? Are courses from previous years being displayed that you no longer wish to see?

Did you know that you can decide which courses to display, group them by academic year and decide what information about each course you’d like to appear on your Enrolments page? This short video shows you how to tailor your list of Courses to suit you and make a cluttered Courses section a thing of the past!