Student s Guide to Blackboard

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1 Student s Guide to Blackboard MADONNA UNIVERSITY 2007 What is Blackboard? Blackboard delivers the course management tools that enable instructors to provide their students with course materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, online assessments, and a dedicated academic resource center on the Web. Instructors can present courses solely designed for online learning, or use it as an extension to the traditional classroom. What Do I Need To Use Blackboard? In order to take an online course, you will need access to: An internet connection. A web browser: Internet Explorer 6 or higher (recommended), Other browsers include Firefox 2.0, AOL 7 or higher, Netscape 7.1 or higher. Associated programs recommended by your instructor (i.e.; Word, Excel, Acrobat Reader). An account. Access to a computer capable of running these applications. Login using your How Do I Connect To Blackboard? Blackboard is accessed through the Internet using a browser. Internet Explorer version 7.1 or higher works best with Blackboard 1

2 Accessing Blackboard 1) Open your web browser and go to the Madonna University web site 2) Select Quick Links from the column on the right side of the home page 3) Choose Blackboard from the pop-up menu 4) Select the User Login button 5) Enter your Student ID # in the Username box 6) Enter your Pin Number in the Password box 7) Select the command button labeled Login If you have any trouble logging in to Blackboard, please call the Madonna University Helpdesk at What is my Pin number#: The pin # is the number used to register on-line. Pin numbers are confidential help desk personnel do not have access to them. If you have forgotten your Pin number and need to register online call the Registrar's Office If you have forgotten your pin number and you need access to Blackboard, the help desk can change your password. 2

3 The Blackboard Welcome Page The Welcome Screen contains a collection of Tools on the left; Links to Tutorials in the center, and a list of Courses you are currently enrolled in on the right. Personal Information The Tools area contains a link to your Personal Information. The policy for this area is to include only the information required to add a student as a user in the Blackboard system. Correspondence from your Instructor will go to the address in this area. Use the following steps to view your personal information 1) Select Personal Information from the Tools area 2) Select Edit Personal Information from the pop-up menu Note: All students have a Madonna University address. The address is: may be accessed through the Madonna University Website. Choose Student; from the Quick Links area at the bottom of the home page. Logging in requires a user name; and a password. To obtain your Madonna University user name and password, please the IT helpdesk at: 3

4 Changing Passwords in Blackboard Use the following steps to change your Blackboard password: 1) From the Tools area select Personal Information 2) Choose Change Password 3) Enter in the new password in the *Password box 4) Enter the new password again in the *Verify Password box 5) Click the Submit button to complete the procedure 6) A box will appear to confirm the change of password, Click the OK button 4

5 Privacy Options From the Privacy Others can view any personal data you choose to add to the personal information area. Personal information, other than your name, can be allowed or hidden. Use the following steps to view / hide information about yourself: 1) Select Personal Information from the Tools area 2) Select Edit Personal Information from the pop-up menu 3) Choose Set Privacy Options 4) Check marks adjacent to personal information fields indicate viewing is approved. Use this area to monitor what personal information of yours can be accessed by others 8) Click the Submit button 5

6 Setting CD-ROM Information If a CD is being used, Blackboard must be able to locate the CD drive. Use the following steps: 1) Choose Personal Information from the Tools area 2) Choose Set CD ROM Drive. 3) Choose the letter that represents the CD ROM drive on your computer If you are a Macintosh User, you will have to type in the name of your CD device 4) Click the Submit button Working with Text for Your Online Course Students use a variety of operating systems and word processors when working with their online classes. This creates an issue with compatibility, since instructors may receive work from students using word processing programs that are not compatible with their own. And students required to view the work of other students may also receive files that are not compatible with their own computer programs. To resolve this issue it is recommended that both Instructors and students save their work as Rich Text Format (.rtf). This is a format that is compatible to all word processing programs. Use the following steps to save a file in RichText Format: 1) Select File from the menu bar 2) Select Save as from the pull-down menu 3) Use the list box adjacent to Save as type to Change the File format to Rich Text Format 6

7 Navigating Through a Class A list of classes you are currently enrolled in appear on the right of the welcome screen, under the heading My Courses. Click on the course name to enter the course. Note: The course will not appear on the list until it is opened by a faculty member. If you are enrolled in a course and it does not appear on the list on the first day of the semester, please call the help desk at Remove Old courses from the Course List Use the following steps to remove courses no longer needed from the class list: 1) Click the icon that resembles a pencil on the top right of the list 2) Remove check marks adjacent to courses no longer needed 3) Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Submit button Overview of a Blackboard Course Once a course is open, common course modules appear on the left. Modules are customizable, the wording may be changed; and modules can be removed or added. Below is a brief description of those modules: Announcements: In comparison to a traditional course, these would be those items that would commonly be announced during the beginning or at the end of the class. Course Syllabus: A course syllabus may be added to this area. This is a necessity in an online course, but it is not limited for use in online classes. Faculty members may choose to post a syllabus for courses that are not online. 7

8 Faculty Info: This area provides contact information. Typically the Instructors name, title, office phone number, and office hours are posted. There is optional space for a brief biography and a digital picture. Course Documents: Documents used in the course are often posted here. they may be in the form of lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, short video clips, links to other websites. Assignments: The Assignments area is generally used to organize and define assignments. This is the recommended area to post view/complete assignments (created with the assignment tool), as well as, quizzes and tests. Communication: This area of the course contains links to the Blackboard menus, Collaboration tools [Live Chat], Roster [with links to student web pages], Group pages, and Discussion Boards. Discussion Board: The discussion board area provides a vehicle for student participation in topical class discussions. Faculty generally moderate the discussion, intervening to guide or respond to issues brought up by the class. External Links: Many faculty members have researched websites that support the curriculum they teach. This is the place to post the URLs to those sites, so students have easy access to the content. Tools: Students use the tools area to access utilities like the Digital Dropbox. Optional utilities include a template for a basic web page, the roster of the class, an electronic calendar, tasks areas and their grades. Submitting an Assignment Currently there are three methods for submitting assignments. Instructors will indicate which one to use for your class. The Assignment Tool Assignments that are to be submitted using the Assignment tool will display the clipboard with a check mark Icon in the left margin. It will contain a link labeled in part: "View/Complete Assignment" 8

9 Use the following steps to submit an assignment using the Assignment Tool: 1) Select the Content Area from the Course menu that holds the Assignment. For example: the assignment may be in the Assignment area or the Course Documents area 2) Click the View/Complete Assignment link. The Upload Assignment page appears 3) Complete the Comments field on the Upload Assignment page 4) Click the Browse button adjacent to the Attach local file box to browse for a file to attach. Multiple files may be attached using the Add Another File button. Click the Submit button when the page is complete. Note: If you access a "View / Complete" assignment and decide to leave it without submitting it to the instructor you must click the Save button. If you do not save before leaving the assignment, future access will be denied. If this happens you must contact your instructor to gain access to the assignment again. 9

10 The table below details the Assignments functions. TO... THEN... access the files attached to the Assignment add comments for the Instructor Select a link in the Assignment Files field. Enter the comments in the Comments field. The Instructor will receive these comments with the submitted Assignment. attach a local file add multiple files remove a file save the Assignment submit the Assignment Click Browse to select a file stored locally. Click Save, Submit or Add Another File to attach the file. Click Add Another File to add all files before saving or submitting. Click Remove next to a file. This option appears after a file is added. Click Save to save the Assignment and continue working on it later. Save stores the comments and the files on the page, but does not submit them. Students may return later to modify or finish the assignment. Submit must be selected in order to finish. Click Submit to send the Assignment to the Instructor. Submit completes the Assignment. Once the page is submitted, the Instructor will be able to access the student s work. The Assignment cannot be submitted again. Submitting a File using the Blackboard System Use the following steps to send an assignment through the Blackboard system: 1) Open the Communication module 2) Select Send 3) Choose one of the following options: 10

11 Note: If you choose to send to Single/ Select Users or Single / Select Groups there is an additional step: Selected users/groups must be moved from the left window to the right window using the arrow buttons in the middle of the two windows. 11

12 4) Use the Information section to enter a subject, a message, and an optional attachment 5) Click the Submit Button to send the . A message will appear to confirm the message was sent: Communications Users are encouraged to communicate with fellow classmates and Instructors as part of the learning process. The Communication area allows users to: send access Discussion Boards use the Collaboration Tools review the User roster access User group pages Using the Feature in Blackboard messages can be sent between students and any other enrolled user in the class. Note: The function works within the Blackboard system; it does not contain spell check and it does not save sent messages. Use the following steps to send an message from Blackboard: 1) Open the Class and select Communications 12

13 2) Select Send 3) Choose one of the following options: Note: All students have a Madonna University address. The address is: Note: may be accessed through the Madonna University Website. Choose Student; from the Quick Links area at the bottom of the home page. Logging in requires a user name; and a password. To obtain your Madonna University user name and password, please the IT helpdesk at: 13

14 Note: If you choose to send to Single/ Select Users or Single / Select Groups there is an additional step: Selected users/groups must be moved from the left window to the right window using the arrow buttons in the middle of the two windows. 4) Use the Information section to enter a subject, a message, and to add an optional attachment 5) Click the Submit Button 6) A receipt will appear to confirm the process. You may continue working in the Send feature by selecting Back, or Return to the Course Discussion Boards Blackboard provides a discussion board as another communication tool to use in a classroom setting. This feature is similar to Virtual Classroom, but is designed for asynchronous use, so everyone does not have to be available at the same time to have a conversation. An additional advantage of the discussion board is that student conversations are logged and organized. Conversations are grouped into threads that contain a main posting and all related replies. 14

15 Accessing the Discussion Board Use the following steps to access the discussion board: 1) Open the course and select the Communication module 2) All major Discussion Board topics are listed in the Forum area. Select the appropriate forum or topic to work in from this area 3) Once a forum has been selected, a page containing the main topics (threads) appears. All entries here are topics to be discussed that pertain to this forum. Choose the link to the topic 4) Read the topic or question; consider a response; then choose the Reply button to respond 15

16 5) A message screen with an associated Submit button will appear. Enter a response in the message area and click the Submit button Responses will be indented or threaded under the topic they are responding to. In the example below there are two responses indented under the original thread "Character 1" Original Thread Note: Unread threads are shown in Bold. 6) Click the subject line of the post to read the message. The author and time of posting is associated with the post Add a New Thread Adding a new thread creates a new sub-topic in the Forum. Use the following steps to Add a New Thread to the Discussion Board: 1) From the first page of the forum select the + Thread button* 2) Use the Message window to compose a new topic for discussion. 16

17 3) Select the Submit button Note: Instructors may opt to add all new threads. In this case the Add Thread button will not appear on the students screen. Flag Posts Use the following steps to Flag a post for further attention: 1) Click the checkbox adjacent to the thread(s) to be flagged 2) Select the flag icon from the toolbar Note: To remove a flag, click the checkmark adjacent to the post and click the Clear Flag icon. Collect Posts Use the following steps to view multiple posts (collect) at one time, and to sort posts: 1) Place a checkmark adjacent to each post to be collected ( or use the drop down menu to Select All and click the GO link) 2) After marking the posts to be collected, click the Collect button Note: Collecting posts will not cause them to be marked as Read. 17

18 Discussion Board Additional Features Managing Threads 1) There are two windows in the discussion area one contains the thread hierarchy; the other contains the text of the current thread. Use the Swap Down button to exchange position of boxes on the screen Window 1 Window 2 2) To temporarily remove the thread detail window select the Hide button 3) Click the Maximize button to expand the Thread Detail view area and bring back a hidden window 18

19 Collaboration The Virtual Classroom allows the instructor and students to participate in real time lessons and discussions and also view archives of previous classroom sessions. The virtual classroom, as we call the chat room, can be used to hold.live. Classroom discussions. Note: When participating in an activity that requires a Virtual Classroom, consider the following: The Virtual Classroom is a Java application and may initially take a few minutes to load into a browser window. Users must have a Java enabled browsers. Due to the synchronous nature of the Virtual Classroom, multiple users must participate at the same time. Be sure to check for scheduled Virtual Classroom sessions. To access the Virtual Classroom feature, Macintosh users with Netscape Navigator browsers must also download and install MRJ and the Mozilla MRJ Plug-in for Netscape. MRJ and the Mozilla Plug-in can be downloaded at: Virtual classroom page Use the following steps to enter a "Chat" in Virtual classroom. 1) Open the Communication module 2) Select Collaboration 3) Click the Join button next to the session you wish to join This is the space you will enter text messages in. Press the ENTER key to send the text to the rest of the chat participants. This is the space where you will see the conversation s text. 19

20 What Makes a Successful Online Student? The online student possesses unique qualities. The online students of today consist primarily of working people who are trying to better their opportunities. This however is changing, as more and more young and older people become aware of the online model. The traditional school will never go away, but the virtual classroom is a significant player in today s educational community. Corporations are using the online model to train technical professionals while private and public universities redefine the world as their markets. The market for students is expanding rapidly. In general, the online student should possess the following qualities: Be open-minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process Introverts as well as extroverts find that the online process requires them to utilize their experiences. This forum for communication eliminates the visual barriers that hinder some individuals in expressing themselves. In addition, the student is given time to reflect on the information before responding. The online environment should be open and friendly. Be self-motivated and self-disciplined With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process. Plan several logins per week to read material and complete assignments. Refer to the course syllabus for precise instructions. Be willing to "speak up" if problems arise Many of the non-verbal communication mechanisms that instructors use in determining whether students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online paradigm. If a student is experiencing difficulty on any level (either with the technology or with the course content), he or she must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong. 20

21 Be willing and able to commit to 4 to 15 hours per week per course Online is not easier than the traditional educational process. In fact, many students will say it requires much more time and commitment. Be able to meet the minimum requirements for the program The requirements for online are no less than that of any other quality educational program. The successful student will view online as a convenient way to receive their education not an easier way. Accept critical thinking and decision making as part of the learning process The learning process requires the student to make decisions based on facts as well as experience. Assimilating information and executing the right decisions requires critical thought; case analysis does this very effectively. Have access to a computer and Internet access The communication medium for online course work is a computer with access to the Internet. Please contact an ISP (Internet Service Provider) in your local area to arrange service. Internet access may come via cable modem, DSL or dial-up connection with phone line and modem. It is the student's responsibility to arrange access to the necessary equipment. Additional software may be required to complete course work. Please refer to the syllabus of the course for specific requirements. Be able to think ideas through before responding Meaningful and quality input into the on-line classroom is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses. The testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged; you will not always be right, just be prepared to accept a challenge. Participate in the virtual classroom 5-7 days a week Be able to work with others in completing projects Be able to use the technology properly Be able to meet the minimum standards as set forth by the institution Be able to complete assignments on time Enjoy communicating in writing The online learning process is normally accelerated and requires commitment on the student s part. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. Once a student gets behind, it is very difficult to catch up. Adapted from Illinois Online Network 21

22 Who Do I Contact For Help? Blackboard at Madonna University is supported by the Technology Learning Services Department. Please contact the IT help desk for technology related issues by Blackboard Student Guide 4/01/

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