This blog post is to look at the menu structure of a standard Blackboard module and the core tools to enable you to enrol users and post / copy and edit content.
It will cover:
- Navigating to your courses
- The Module Template
- Edit View / Student Preview
- Adding Menu Items
- Copying Content to other modules
- Moving / organising content on a page
- Setting Up Reading Lists
- Releasing Content
- Embedding Content
- Kaltura Media
- Enrolling Users onto a Module
Navigate to your courses
To navigate to Blackboards and your courses:
- Login to MUSE using your normal university username and password
- Click on My services
- Select Blackboard
From the blackboard interface select the ‘course’ option on the left hand menu. You will by default see all current courses you are a member of. The courses for forthcoming academic year will not appear in the ‘current course’ list until they are released (usually the week before teaching begins on them) to access these courses you can change your course list view from ‘Current Courses’ to ‘Upcoming Courses’ by clicking the ‘Current Courses’ tab at the top centre of the screen and selecting from the drop down menu.
All modules have been created based on the departmental module template. The module template has been designed for a conformity of appearance across the modules to enhance student experience and improve access to course materials and submission areas. In the past student have expressed a preference that module presentation on Blackboard follows a set structure. Staff should try where possible to deliver module information in this structure.
Place module calendars and timetables in the Module Overview section.
If you wish to create an overview or contextual item regarding weekly content overviews please place this in the weekly content section before the individual weekly folders.
In the weekly content areas and indeed when creating any folder it is good practice to include a short description of what information that can be found in that folder.
Avoid adding additional menu items to the left hand menu. If you feel any information that does not fit in the existing menu structure needs to be added then place the link in the new ‘Additional Information Section’ (located on the module left hand menu)
When creating menu items to avoid clutter and promote ease of navigation please group items in relevant folders (for example create a folder called ‘mock information’ and place all mock tests and revision material there)
Edit View / Student Preview
To be able to make changes and edit your courses you will need to ensure that the edit view is turned ‘on’. This is located on the upper right-hand side of the course view. Once this is turned on you will see editing options appear as little drop-down arrows to the side of all existing content and have the create content options appear at the top of the page.
The student preview option next to the edit toggle allows you to preview your course from a student’s perspective. This will allow you to check to see if items you have posted are displaying correctly. The student preview creates a ‘mock’ user to see items.
Please note: If any items are set only to release to specific students you will not be able to see these in student preview as your ‘preview user’ username has not been added to those groups. When you exit the student preview you are given the option to retain the preview user data. If you allow this then you can find your preview user in the ‘Users and Groups’ you can then add the preview user to any groups you wish and when you enter student preview again you will be able to see any items limited to those groups.
Adding Menu Items
If you need to add menu items to the ‘additional information’ section of your course menu ensure you are in
edit mode. You will notice a small ‘+’ at the top left of the menu. Clicking this will show a drop down menu to select the menu item to add. A content area is an online folder where you can place multiple items. Once you have selected the menu item you want to add you can name the item and if you want to make it available to students select the checkbox confirming this. Click submit and the item will be added to the bottom of the menu.
You can then select the menu item (to the left of its name) and drag it to the menu position you want.
It can be useful to copy content from previous years blackboard module s or between multiple modules you are teaching on.
To copy content, first ensure edit mode is switched on. Navigate to the item you wish to copy and select the small arrow to the right of the item title. From the dropdown menu that appears click copy.
Select the module you wish to copy your item too from the ‘Destination Course’ dropdown menu. Then click browse and select the content area you want to copy to be placed in. Then click Submit to make the copy.
Moving / Organising Content on a page
To organise items on a Blackboard page, first ensure that the edit mode is on. If you then hover the cursor to the left of the item you wish to move you will notice pink bar highlight. You can then click this bar and drag the item to the correct position on your page.
Setting Up Reading Lists
Create a resource list
a) Make a previous year’s resource list available
- In the relevant Blackboard course, click on the Resource List link in the left
- You should see a resource list with a title indicating it has been rolled over from the previous year. If not, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Edit your list as necessary by adding and removing
- Publish your list to make it visible to your new students by clicking the Publish button. The Library will review your list to ensure items are accessible to
b) Create a new resource list
- In the relevant Blackboard course, click on the Resource List link in the left
- Click the “Create” button to create your resource list on the Resource List platform. The title of your resource list will auto-fill with the name of the module and the academic year.
- If you would prefer the Library to create the resource list on your behalf, select “Upload it” to send your reading list to the Library.
- If you cannot see a Resource List link in the Blackboard menu, you will need to add it yourself under Add Menu Item – Tool
- Type ‘Resource List’ into the name box and choose Resource List from the ‘Type’ drop down
- Click ‘Available to users’.
- Click on the Submit
- The link to the resource list will now appear in the left
Add items to your Resource List
a) Add books and journal articles from within the Library collection
- To add items to the list, click on the + symbol near the menu on the
- Choose between three searches – Primo Central to find individual journal articles;
All University of Sheffield to find books, e-books, journals, databases; Everything.
- Enter your search terms. Alternatively, you can search in StarPlus and then copy the ISBN or DOI into the resource list
From your search results, drag the item into a section on your resource
b) Add resources from outside the library collection: webpages, videos and Open Access articles
First add the Cite it! button to your browser
- From within your resource list click on your initials in the
- Click on Cite It! and drag the Cite it! button to your browser
Click on the Cite it! button and drag it to the toolbar
Add a resource to your list from the web
- While looking at the page you wish to add, click on Cite It! on your
- Cite it! opens a box that displays information about the resource. You can edit these details.
- Either add the resource directly to your resource list, selecting which section to put it in, or add to your Collection to use
- Click “Add and Close” to
To improve accessibility for students, please use Cite It! on the document landing page rather than on the document itself (e.g. a pdf).
Structure and annotate your list
Providing clear direction to your students will help them engage successfully with the module resources.
- Divide your list into sections, perhaps by topic or by academic
- Tag your items to indicate Key or Wider reading. Click on ‘Add tags to item’.
- Annotate items to direct students to a particular chapter or author. Click on the item to show the full details then scroll down to edit the Public
- Move items around your list by dragging them. Alternately, use ‘Bag it’ to relocate multiple items.
Make your resource list visible to your students
When you click Publish the Library will review your list to ensure your items are accessible to students, with consideration to licensing and copyright restrictions.You will need to Publish your list so that students can see the list in Blackboard and access the resources.
Find further support on Resource Lists
The Library resource list webpage: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/library/teach/resourcelist Speak to your Liaison Librarian: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/library/libstaff/sllist
Releasing Content on Blackboard
Hiding menu items
With the edit mode turned on any menu item can be hidden from student view. To do this click the small arrow to the right of the menu item you wish to hide. You can the select ‘hide link’ from the drop-down menu. This can be repeated to make the link visible.
Timed release of content.
Content can be made available on creation but there is an option to set the release of content for a specific date / time. With the edit mode turned on click the small arrow to the right of the item you wish to release on a certain date / time. Click ‘edit’. Scroll down to the availability options. Ensure that the ‘available to students’ option is checked, just below this you can then select a release date.
You can have an item display after a certain date and time. Once this is set it will become visible at this date / time and remain so for the duration of the course. If you wish the item to become unavailable after a set amount of time you can then set the Display until time and date. With this set that will be the point at which the item will disappear from view for students.
Items such as google forms / slides pictures and any media that is made available through html embed codes can be embedded into a Blackboard item / folder. When you create an item or content area in Blackboard you are presented with a Text box and tools to enter information to a content or description area, By clicking the ‘<>’ buttin on the right of the toolbar second row you enter the HTML view of the text area, here you can paste and embed codes that you have to include in your item.
Once you have cpbtained the embed code from the item you wish to embed, paste the embed code and click submit.
Click submit again to then view the embedded item.
Embedding Google Forms
To embed a google form. Open the form, click send, on the popup window select the ‘<>’ option. Copy the code that you are given and then follow the instructions above.
Please note: if you need to adjust the size of the embedded document this can be done in the html box by manually changing the with and length size (in Pixels)
Embedding Google Slides
To embed a google slides presentation. Open the presentation, click ‘file’ and select ‘Publish to web’ here you can then select the size of the published slide presentation. Once selected select the ‘Embed’ option and click ‘Publish’ you can then copy the embed code and follow the above instructions.
To embed Kaltura media clips into Blackboard you first need to make sure that the media has been uploaded to Kaltura, it is best and quicker to upload this via the Kaltura Media Hub prior to loading into Blackboard.
Kaltura Media can be loaded into any content area in Blackboard where you are presented with an Edit Text box. Since the update of the Blackboard text edititor you are able to add Kaltura Media nd Images via the ‘Add Content’ button. This is the ‘+’ in a circle located at the right hand side of the bottom row of the text box.
Once you have clicked the add content button, select the content you wish to add ‘Kaltura Media’ Find the media you want to embed and click ‘select’. Click ‘Submit’ to embed. Alternatively you can embed Kaltura Media using the embed options above.
Enrolling Users onto a Module
It may be necessary to enrol additional users to your module, this may be additional teaching staff or students that have swapped modules or registered late.
To enrol users in the module left hand menu click ‘users and groups’ from the expanded options click ‘Manage Users’. On the following page select ‘Add’
On the new screen enter the username of the student / staff member you wish to add. Then select the role of that user from the option available.
Click ‘Submit’ to add the user with the selected user role.
For more detailed Blackboard instructional information please see the Digital Learning Teams Blackboard pages <HERE>