Faculty Blackboard How-To Documentation

Blackboard 9.1 at Mary Baldwin

This is intended as a How-To Guide to Blackboard at Mary Baldwin and will cover the following:

Getting Started
Navigating Blackboard
Video Everywhere
Posting a Syllabus
Creating Assignments
Posting Announcements
Creating and Reviewing Discussion Boards
Choosing your Course Structure in Blackboard
Adding Content to your Course
Course Files
Course Tools
Grade Center
Users and Groups
Course Customization
Course Copy
Import Course Cartridges
Discussion Board Rubric
Blackboard “Buddies” who can help you

You can CTRL F to search for a keyword in this document.

Getting Started

If you are using Blackboard in your course, you must make sure you have notified the registrar’s office (Lallon Pond for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, Lori Johnson for College of Education or Kim Robinson) so they can flag your course for Blackboard. This will enable your course and enrollments to be loaded into Blackboard.

1. Navigation in Blackboard

1.1 Logging in

If you have Mary BaldwinLinks, you can click on Mary Baldwin Blackboard. If you are accessing Blackboard via www.marybaldwin.edu or mymbc.marybaldwin.edu, click on the Blackboard link. Or you can navigate your browser to https://blackboard.marybaldwin.edu

To sign in to Blackboard, use your normal Mary Baldwin user name and pin (the one which never changes).

1.2 Entering Blackboard

When you get into Blackboard, you’ll see a busy screen. The most important section of the introductory screen is your list of courses. Simply click on the course you wish to enter. You will see a screen that looks like this:

Blackboard Course Announcements Screen

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1.3 Navigating when you get in to Blackboard

The tabs at the top of your Blackboard screen, Blackboard@Mary Baldwin and Courses will always be there, and you can use them to navigate back to the Blackboard Home Page or to your list of courses


My Blackboard. If you move your cursor to the top right of your screen and click on the little down triangle to the right of your name, the My Blackboard pop-up will appear. From My Blackboard you can navigate to the wavy note icon – Announcements (from all courses), the alarm clock icon – Updates (from all courses) and a calendar icon which shows you dated events and assignments from all courses on one page.


You can navigate between open courses directly, without going back to the Courses or Blackboard@Mary Baldwin  page.  Just click on My Blackboard (the down triangle to the right of your name at the upper right) and you’ll see the last 5 courses you accessed at the top and the rest of the courses in which you are enrolled below that.


Click on your Course ID to access your course.


The next line down from the tabs takes you down a list of areas within the Course Navigation Menu. First, the course ID and course name, then the “breadcrumb trail” which shows you where you have navigated to – in this case,  Announcements. The breadcrumb trail is the recommended way of navigating BACK in blackboard, because although the back arrow usually works, occasionally it gives unpredictable results.

In the upper-right corner of your course is an Edit Mode Switch. Turn it ON to access the editing tools. Turn it OFF to see the course from your students’ view. (Remember, your students will NEVER see the Control Panel). A better way
to see the course from your student’s point of view is to Add a Test Student.

Using chevrons to navigate (>> or << or up and down)

UP Chevron: Two arrows on top of each other pointing up will hide the contents of a navigation sub-menu.

RIGHT Chevron: Two arrows on top of each other pointing to the right will expand a sub-menu into a new page.

DOWN Chevron: Two arrows on top of each other, pointing down, usually next to a content item, will reveal a menu of options such as Hide or Delete. In the Control Panel, they reveal additional headings.

Using arrow signs to navigate

You will see double-headed arrows to the left of headings in the Course Navigation Menu (see next paragraph). These start out as vertical double arrows that act like a moving text magnet when you hover with your cursor. Use these to drag and drop menu items.

1.4 The Course Navigation Menu

The Course Navigation Menu is located (where the arrow is pointing in the illustration above). The default Course Navigation Menu (CNM) has the following headings to denote Content Areas:

  • Announcements:
  • Faculty Contact
  • Syllabus:
  • Readings:
  • Assignments:
  • Discussions:

In between the Course navigation menu and the announcements is a tiny little tab that looks like this [<]

The purpose of this tab is to allow you to increase the size of whatever you are doing on the left hand side by hiding the right hand side. When you click on it, you will see the Course Navigation Menu and the Control Panel disappear.
To get them back, click on the tab that looks like this: [>]

If you have copied content from another course, your copied content will be at the bottom of the Course Navigation Menu.

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1.4.1 To Hide, Rename or Delete an item on the Course Navigation Menu:

You can move, rename, delete or hide any of the headings within the CNM to customize it to your course. Each heading is sandwiched between the double-arrow on the left and the downward facing chevron on the right. Click on the double
arrow to move headings up and down. Click on the chevron to get a menu of options from which you can select Hide, Rename or Delete.

1.4.2 Add a Content Area to the Course Navigation Menu

Create Content Area:

  1. Hover over the + sign at the top left of the CNM and click on Create Content Area.
  2. Click on the little box to make the item available.
    (If you are adding content while a course is in session, you can keep it unavailable until it is ready, at which point click on the chevrons to the right of the completed header and click on Show Link).
  3. Once you have created your content item, it adds it to the bottom of the CNM. You can move it with the little crossedarrows at the right of the item, click and hold to move the item up or down.

If you click on this newly create item, you will see 4 blue buttons at the top. They are Build Content, Create Assessment, Add Interactive Tool and Assign Textbook. See Section 7  for more details on how to add content to your course.

1.5 Tidying Up:

Announcements is usually the first page that will come up when you or a student sign on to your course. If you have made announcements, created tasks, or put dates for the course events in the Calendar, they will show up here.

What’s New will notify students of Assignments, Tests, Readings and other content items, Discussion Threads etc that have been added to the course.

To Do keeps track of assignments with DUE DATES – warning students of upcoming deadlines.

NOTE! Assessments created with Safe Assign and some other Building Blocks do NOT show up in To Do.

Students don’t see Alerts or Needs Attention boxes, so you can X them out of the Home or Announcements Page of your course. BUT, you’ll want to see them, because they have useful information.. Look for them under Instructor Notifications, which is hidden from students.

Needs Attention: Displays all items in a course that require some type of interaction. Instructors, Instructional Staff, and Graders see assignments, tests, and surveys that have been submitted.

Alerts: Include Past Due items and Early Warning System Items.

Past Due items are created automatically by Blackboard when the due date for an assignment is past.


You will not see the icons for editing at first, but if you move your mouse so that the cursor is near the item, the item will be highlighted, a triangle will show up. If you click on the triangle, that will allow you to edit the item.

 When you move your cursor over the item, it is highlighted: 

When you click on the down triangle,options come up that will allow you to to edit the item: 

The Visual Text Box Editor:

This excellent video describes the many ways you can use the Visual Text Box Editor in Blackboard.



Video Everywhere

Video Everywhere (aka Record from Webcam) is a feature of content editor which allows you to view video content from Blackboard. Google has remove the option to record directly from Video Everywhere. This means that any video submissions will first need to be uploaded to YouTube and then attached to Blackboard. You must use your Mary Baldwin gmail username as your ID and your Mary Baldwin gmail password (PIN) as your password. If this is the first time accessing your Mary Baldwin YouTube account you will be prompted to allow access. For instructions on uploading or recording a YouTube video go here. Once you have uploaded your video, you may follow these instructions to submit it in BlackBoard.

To submit a video, log into BlackBoard, go to your Assignments tab and select “Write Submission” under  “2. Assignment Submission”. Click on the leftmost icon on the third row (webcam). Sign into YouTube if necessary. You must be signed on with your Mary Baldwin gmail username as your ID and your Mary Baldwin gmail password (PIN) as your password.


In the new browser window, click on the “Browse” tab. Locate the video that you uploaded to YouTube. Select the “Insert” button.


In the new window, choose the “Thumbnail” option then “Insert” to put the video into your assignment.


This will put a clickable thumbnail of your video for viewing.


Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Submit” to save your work.



Note: If this screen does not appear, you may have to temporarily disable the popup blocker in your browser.

The video should be stored in YouTube as Unlisted.  This means it cannot be found if searched for, but if someone has the URL they will be able to view the video.  If you need to keep this video PRIVATE, then you need to go into Youtube, Video Manager, and click on “Edit” to change the Privacy settings to Private and type in the gmail address of the person who is the only one you want to be able to view it.  In that case, they would not be able to see the video unless they were signed on to YouTube with their Mary Baldwin gmail credentials. If your students are submitting a video, you would not be able to view it unless the gave you the rights. For this reason, it is recommended that they keep the video “Unlisted”.

Blackboards own documentation about Video Everywhere is here.

Note: If your video(s) will be longer than 15 minutes, click here to increase the default limit.

2.Posting a Syllabus or other Content

To add a Syllabus or another Content Area

When you click on Syllabus, it will take you to a screen like this, with four
tabs (Build Content, Create Assessment, Add Interactive Tool, Assign Textbook.)

If you click on Build Content, Create Item. You will see a Visual Text Box Editing screen where you can:

Fill in the name of your syllabus at (1).

Then, Create your syllabus as a text file, by typing or pasting it into the Visual Edit box. It is a good idea to paste it in from Notepad (for PC) or Textedit (for MAC) rather than from Word as sometimes the invisible formatting from Word makes for unpredictable results.

OR, Upload your syllabus as a .pdf or .doc file. Go to (2) and attach Local File and browse for the file name. It’s a good practice to upload your syllabus as a .pdf file, because students may not be using the same version of MSWord that you are using. Directions are at: http://www.marybaldwin.edu/oit/blackboard-learning-system-faq#PDF

Click on Submit.


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3. Create & Grade Simple Assignments:

3.1 Creating an Assignment,

1. Click on the Content Area where you wish to put the assignment (e.g. Assignments, Week 1)

2. Click on Create Assessment > Assignment.

3. In the Assignment Settings, enter the following:

–  Section 1 – Assignment Information:  Enter the Assignment Name &  Type or paste the assignment information in the Visual Edit box (Do not paste directly from MSWord, copy into Notepad fist).

In the instructions you might want to tell the students to send you a file in your preferred format & with a name that means something to you (e.g. assign1_studentname.doc) to help locate saved files in the future.  If you have MSWORD 2010 &  some of your students have MSWORD 2003 & you are sending the assignment as a .doc, it will save you and your students some stress if you Save As a Word 2003-2009 document (.doc rather than .docx) & attach that file to your assignment.

–   Section 2 – Assignment Files:  (To upload a single file as an assignment):
Attach Local File and browse for the file name from there.

–   Section 3 – Due Dates: Enter Due Date (if applicable)
     (Remember, Midnight is START OF DAY – 11:59 is END OF DAY.)

–   Section 4 – Grading: Enter the possible points for the assignment

Submission Details – 
Options: (1) Type of assignment (2) Number of Attempts (3) Plagiarism Tools*.
Grading Options –
Options:  (1)Enable Anonymous Grading (2) Enable Delegated Grading.
Display of Grades – 
Options: (1) Set GradesDisplayed (2) Include in Grade Center Calculations (3) Show to students (4) Show Statistics

*Submission Details on the Assignment Settings. To turn this Assignment into a SafeAssignment, click on Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign.

For more information, view the video tutorial here

DRAFTS has been renamed to “Exclude Submissions”.  If you don’t want your students’ work to be added to the Global Database, click on Exclude Submissions.

If you allow more than one Submsssion for a SafeAssignment, the subsequent draft will exclude the previous draft from the search automatically.

–   Section 5 – Availability:
    Check Make the Assignment Available box & Enter Limit Availability dates (if applicable).

–   Section 6 – Submit:  Click Submit once all of the settings have been entered.

 The assignment will now be available on the Content Area.

Note: Blackboard says this about SafeAssign:

“SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool aimed at providing instructors with information more quickly than they would otherwise be able to access using their own resources. However, SafeAssign is not designed to flag, catch, or identify all forms of plagiarism in all cases. Due to the nature of the problem, students and submitters of works are undoubtedly going to find ways to subvert the SafeAssign system. We are constantly working to improve the service and close gaps where we believe there are such opportunities, but we make no guarantees as to the accuracy or comprehensiveness of the results SafeAssign displays. SafeAssign does not recognize nor accommodate quoted material any differently than non-quoted material. The design of the service is meant to identify potentially significant portions of a document, rather than individual words or sentences. Because of the way SafeAssign is designed, some sentences may not be flagged as copied or plagiarized that match text from another source. In these cases, Blackboard will investigate the occurrence and may or may not make adjustments to the service’s algorithm. Due to intellectual property and security concerns, we do not publicly announce changes to the SafeAssign algorithm.
SafeAssign should never replace an instructor or a human’s judgment. The service is meant to be a tool for instructors and schools to utilize as part of the overall educational experience of their learners. SafeAssign should not be used ‘in a vacuum’ or without regard to student and instructor attention, and should only be used as an informational tool in all cases”

3.2 Grading an Assignment

To see a YouTube Video showing this functionality, click here

When you create an assignment, Blackboard adds a column with the same name to the grade center.

Under the Control Panel Menu (where the bottom arrow is pointing on the first graphic in this document) click on Grade Center and then Assignments.

You will see a little green box with an ! in it for each assignment that needs grading. To view that assignment submission click on the ! and from the down chevrons click on View Grade Details.  Click on View Attempt.

– OR –

The assignment that needs grading will show up on the Grade Center, Needs Grading screen.  Click on the student ID to View the Attempt.

You can now do Inline Grading for most attached files.  This gives you the ability to “mark up” an assignment from Word, Powerpoint,  Excel or even a .pdf without downloading it and saving it.  You will be able to Strike Through, Highlight, Draw with your mouse, add Text, and also insert Point, Text and Area Comments.

To hide the other viewing panes so the Assignment will be bigger, follow the process here:

Then put in the grade and Submit.


Under SUBMISSION you will either see the student’s work if they have typed or pasted their submission in to the Visual Edit box, or you will see a link to a file if the student has uploaded a file with their assignment in it. To see the file outside of the Inline Grading facility, click on the file name and it will come up in Word or EXCEL or Adobe depending upon the format of the file.

To enter Grading Notes that are private to the Instructors of the course, and will not be seen by the student, click on the icon to the right of Attempt (see green circle, above).

If you want to record grade comments using Video Anywhere, lick on the little A below the Grader Feedback Text Box (see red circle, above) and a full Text Box will appear with a Video Anywhere webcam icon (see red circle, below).


If you want to make some notes to yourself that the student won’t see, put them at (4).

Click on Submit

To grade an assignment using an iPad

1) Ask your students to submit the assignments in Blackboard as .pdf files

2) Install Dropbox on the PC https://www.dropbox.com/downloading and the Dropbox App (Free) on the iPad.  

3) Purchase & Install iAnnotate ($9.99) for the iPad 

4) In Blackboard in the Full Grade Center at the top of the Assignment column click on Assignment File Download. 

5) Copy the Assignments into your Dropbox.  Ensure they are .pdf format.  If not, open them and Save As .pdf format

6) Go into iAnnotate.  Under Connectivity choose Download All.

7) Click on the file you want to grade.

8) Annotate Away – you can underline, insert text, write with a stylus or your finger, highlight….

9) When you are done click on the little circle arrows and choose Sync with Account.

10) This will put the graded assignment back into your Dropbox on your PC.  Then you go back into Blackboard and grade theAssignment as usual, attaching the marked up file.

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4. Posting Announcements:

Friendly and efficient announcements are crucial. Train your students to pay attention to announcements by putting useful and timely information there.

To Create an announcement, under the Control Panel Menu, click on Tools, Announcements and Create Announcements

In Section 2, “Options,” you have the ability to set time & date restrictions on your announcement or add a link to some other part of the course. Permanent Announcements are always at the top, therefore, after you have created your most recent announcement, you may want to use the double headed arrow sign to the left of the announcement to move it to the top of the screen, so your students can see it.

If you have set any dates on the announcement AND clicked “Send an email of this announcement immediately” when you Save the Announcement, the email will be created and mailed. Go back into the Announcement immediately afterwards and unclick this box and Save again, so that when this course is copied or exported and re-used, the announcement will not get automatically emailed when the dates are updated via Date Management.

5. Creating and Managing a Discussion Board

If you want the Discussion Board to be a valuable learning experience, monitor it closely, just as you would monitor a classroom discussion. If you want to encourage community and raise the comfort level in the class, join in the discussion and take some risks yourself. If you want to raise the quality, length, and complexity of students’ answers, provide them  with a model by posting a sample answer.

The Blackboard discussion board allows for threaded discussions to take place in your Blackboard course. The board can be split up into Forums, which may be used to separate discussions on different topics. Within each forum users may post threads (as in “threads of a conversation”), which are the conversations themselves. A user may post a new thread (usually a question or statement calling for a response) and other users may then reply to that thread, creating a discussion.

5.1 To create a Discussion Forum:

In the Course Navigation Menu, click on “Discussions.”

The “Discussion Board” will appear with a blue box in the upper left hand corner. Click on “Create Forum.”

  1. The Discussion Forum will appear.
  •  Enter a Name for the forum. This should quickly convey what topic the forum will be used to discuss.
  •  Enter a Description for the forum. It is helpful to explain how the forum should be used and how regularly you (the tutor) will check it.

Name and Description

2. Section Two is Forum Availability. You can choose to make the forum available immediately, or to schedule the time it opens and closes. For example, if you have set up the discussions for the entire semester, you can make them available for successive one or two week periods.


  •  Leave Available set to Yes so that students will be able to see the forum.
  •  Enter date and time restrictions on when the forum should be available only if you wish.

3. Section Three is Forum Settings.Forum Settings

Set the forum settings according to your preferences. It is possible to go back and Modify your forum later if you wish to change these.

  • Standard View: In standard mode students may use the forum without having to make a first post.
  • Participants must create a thread: If this option is selected students must first create a thread of their own before they may view the rest of the discussion forum.
  • Grade: Select Grade Forum and enter a point value to evaluate participants on performance throughout the Forum. Once Grading has been enabled, a Grade Center Column is created, either for the Forum, or for each Thread. Select Grade Threads if you want to evaluate participants on performance in each thread. When the Grade Threads option is used, a Points Possible option appears each time a thread is started.
  • No marking in forum: Select this option if the forum will not be assessed.
  • Grade Discussion forum: Points possible: Enter a point value to evaluate participants on performance throughout the forum.
  • Grade threads: Allows you to grade individual threads. Setting this option is not usually recommended due to the high workload for the instructor.  Students cannot create new threads if “Grade Threads” is selected for the Forum.
  • Subscribe: Depending on the features you enable you may allow both students and staff on your course to “subscribe” to the discussion board so that notifications are sent to users depending on features that you enable.
  • Do not allow subscriptions: Selecting this option will not make any subscription features available within this forum.
  • Allow members to subscribe to threads: This gives users the opportunity to “subscribe” to single discussion board threads. If this option is set and the user chooses to they can receive an email alert when a post is updated or a user posts a reply. This option is not recommended since it would require users to subscribe to every thread they are interested in.
  • Allow members to subscribe to forum: Recommended. This option allows a user to “subscribe” to the whole forum. They will be notified of all changes to the discussion forum such as new posts and replies to any existing threads. This option is recommended. If this option is set the following two options are available:

Include body of post in the email. Use this option to include the message text in the email notification and a link to reply to the message. This is not recommended since we find that students will reply to the emails under the mistaken assumption that their replies will be added to the thread.
Include link to a message. Use this option to include a link to the message in the email notification. This option is recommended.

  • Allow anonymous posts: Ticking this box will allow your students to choose to post anonymously if they wish.
  • Allow author to delete own posts: This allows the author to remove their message later on.
    -All posts: It is not recommended to select this option because if a post is removed the flow of the thread will be disturbed. If a user deletes their message any messages which were in reply to the deleted message will also be deleted.
    -Only posts with no replies: Setting this option will only allow users to remove a post provided no one else has replied to it. This is a better option to use than ‘All Posts’, but is still not recommened.
  • Allow author to edit own published posts
    This allows the author of a message to go back and edit it later. Not recommended, as there is no audit trail of what the original post said.
  • Allow members to create new threads: Turning on this setting allows students to start new threads (i.e. start new topics of conversation). It is recommended that you set this option otherwise your students will only be able to reply to threads that you create.
  • Allow file attachments: Setting this option will allow students to add attachments to their messages.
  • Allow users to reply with quote: If this options is selected then when users reply to a post they have an extra option to quote the post to which they are replying.
  • Force moderation of posts: Moderating posts requires that all posts are reviewed by a responsible party before the content is shared with the class. If this is enabled then users with a discussion board role of Manager or Moderator can click on Moderate Forum to view a “Moderation Queue” of posts that are awaiting approval. Then they are able to Publish a post or Return it back to the user.
  • Allow post tagging: This allows discussion board messages to be tagged with meta data. The ability to tag is only available when posts are viewed through the collect view. We do not recommend turning on this option because Blackboard have warned of adverse effects to the performance of the discussion board when this option is enabled.
  • Allow members to rate posts: If this option is enabled each user can respond to a post by rating it using a 5-star rating system in which you can change manage whether students will be allowed to edit their own work once posted, or to create new discussion threads. The default settings allow students to edit what they have written until the time another student (or professor) responds to them. If you do not allow students to create threads, you will need to create threads for them to reply to. When you set up your Discussion you can choose to grade at the Forum Level or at the Thread level.
  • *****Post First Setting – you can set an option requiring students to post to a Discussion Board Forum before they can view the other posts.

Click on Submit.

4. To create a thread, click on the Forum name. When you or a student clicks on Create Thread, the instructions or questions posted with the Forum do not appear on the screen. Teach your students to copy the forum questions or instructions from the Discussion Board Page and then they can copy it into the Thread so they can see it while replying to it.

5. To create a reply to a thread, click on REPLY. There is a button at the upper right of the discussion pane that says either Hide Parent Post or Show Parent Post, so you can look at the entry for which you are formulating the reply.

6. Discussions will appear in chronological order. That is, the first discussion posted during the semester will remain at the top of the discussion board. If you wish to change the order of the postings to make the most current one appear at the top, use the “up/down” arrow symbol to the left of each discussion topic to move it up or down in the ranking.

5.2 Reading and Grading Discussions

1. To read posts, click on the down chevrons next to the forum name. This will open a drop down box. Click on the word “open.”

2. The Discussion Forum will appear. Click on Tree View at the upper right hand side of the page. Then, either read them one at a time by clicking down the “Tree” or look at all the threads and responses by the top checkbox to Select All click on and Collect.

When you read a message, click on the checkbox, when you have marked all the ones you have read, at the top next to the word MARK, click on the down chevrons and choose READ. While this is not an essential step in reading the work of students, it will help you to keep track of where you are in reading the assignments.

b. Once you have completed reading the assignments you wish, scroll down to the bottom of the Discussion Forum page and click on the “OK” button.

3. If you ever don’t see as much of something as you think you should, check out the bottom where it says “Displaying x of x”. It may only show you the first thing. To see the rest click on Edit Paging and tell it to show more items per page.

To grade the forum, click on Grade Forum.

A list of users appears. Click Grade for a user.

A collection of the user’s posts in the Forum will appear. Evaluate the posts and click on Edit Grade to enter a Grade.

Click Save Grade to add the Grade to the Grade Center.

Click on the next user in the Contributor’s list to enter the next grade.

5.3 To Grade a Discussion Thread

1. Open the Discussion Board. A list of Forums will appear. Open a Forum and select a thread.

2. Click Grade Thread. A list of users will appear. Click Grade for a user.

A collection of the user’s posts in the Thread will appear. Evaluate the posts and click on Edit Grade to enter a Grade.

3. Click Save Grade to add the Grade to the Grade Center.

4. Click on the next user in the Contributor’s list to enter the next grade.

Once your settings are completed, click on “Submit.”

5. To save or print all the discussions, click on the check boxes for discussions you wish to save or print, or on the top check box for ALL, and then click on Collect, then click on the < tab to move the discussion pane to full screen,
then click on Print Preview and either print to a printer or a .pdf file. Don’t forget to click on the > tab to get the left hand side of the screen back!

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6. Choosing your Course Structure in Blackboard

The Content Navigation Menu is where you set up how students will navigate your course. It is easiest on everyone if you plan this in advance. There are as many options as there are courses. Here are two examples for Elephants 101:

Option 1
Option 2
Readings Chapters 1-7: Elephant Physiology
     Elephant Trunk Readings      Elephant Trunk Readings & Links
     Socialization Readings      Elephant Trunk Mini-Quiz
     Elephant Trunk Links      Elephant Footpad Articles & Video
     Elephant Footpad Articles & Video      Physiology Discussion Board
Discussions      Physiology Quiz
     Socialization Discussion Board Chapters 8-12: Elephant Socialization
     Physiology Discussion Board      Socialization Readings
Assignments      Socialization Research Paper Assignment
     Socialization Research Paper Assignment      Socialization Discussion Board
     Resarch Project Research Project
Quizzes and Tests Final Exam
     Elephant Trunk Mini-Quiz
     Physiology Quiz
     Final Exam

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7. Adding Content to your Course:

7.1 Build Content

7.1.1 Build Content: Create Item

Use Create Item to type or paste in words, and to attach files, photos or videos. This is the original  Blackboard content creation tool. You can use the toolbar buttons in section 1, “Content Information” at the top or attach files through section 2, “Attach or Link Content.” If you wish to select time & date restrictions for content availability, scroll down to section 3, “Options.”

Create Item

7.1.2 Build Content: Create File

Browse your Computer to locate a file to upload to your Blackboard course.  If you have uploaded files in bulk from Course Files, browse from your Course instead of your Computer.

7.1.3 Build Content: Create McGraw-Hill Library

If you are using a McGraw-Hill textbook and the Connect Product, here’s how you would create a gateway from Blackboard to Connect.

7.1.4 Build Content: Create Audio / Image / Video

Browse your computer to locate an audio file, an image file, or a video file to upload to your Blackboard Course.

7.1.5 Build Content: Create URL

Link from this item to a URL. Blackboard is expecting http://yourchosenURL.dom.   If you DON”T open that website in a new window, it is easier for them to navigate back. However, some people have experienced issues with and find the links more reliable if they ARE opened in a new window.  Make sure you test the links.

7.1.6 Build Content: Create Learning Module

You might wish to create a learning module to bundle all the work associated with one topic together. A learning module could contain readings, quizzes, assignments, discussions, journals…. When setting up the learning module, ensure that you sign on as a Test Student or click on the edit box and look at it from the student’s perspective.

7.1.7 Build Content: Create Lesson Plan

This provides a template for a simple lesson plan.  Usually used in K-12 courses.

7.1.8 Build Content: Create Syllabus

This provides a template for a syllabus with course shells.

7.1.9 Build Content: Create Course Link

This can be useful if you want several pointers to the same item, for example, if you want to put all the quizzes in a folder called Quizzes, but you also want to put the lilnk to the Quiz for Chapter 1 with the Chapter 1 content.

7.1.10 Build Content: New Page, Content Folder

Folders allow for another level of indexing. One Content Menu Item can point to 7 Content Folders which can in turn point to readings,  assignments, quizzes, external links, etc.

7.1.11 Build Content: New Page, Blank Page

Blank Page is a way to tidy up your Content Items. Blank Page gives you a screen just like Create Item, but it puts only the title on the first page
of content, and when you click on the title you then get the details, the image, the file, the link, etc.

7.1.11 Build Content: New Page, Module Page

A Module Page looks like the Announcements or Home Page.

7.1.12 Build Content: New Page, Tools Area

This does the same thing as Create Tool Link in 7.3. It enables you to put a link to the Send Mail, My Grades, Blog tools into your Content Item.

7.1.13 Build Content: Mashups, Flikr Photo/ SlideShare/YouTube Video

This is a shortcut for adding links to Flikr, SlideShare and Youtube content.   It will give you a search window and then will show you potential matches you can Preview or Select. When you find the one you want, click on Submit several times.

If you know the youtube address you want to link to but you cannot find it with the Search window (maybe it is new, or unlisted), use the Build Content, Create URL and make sure 4. Open in New Window is set to Yes.

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7.2 Create Assessment

7.2.1: Create Assessment, Test/Survey

Tests: In Blackboard, Tests, Surveys and Pools are built as independent entities FIRST, then created into the appropriate content area SECOND.

Surveys are created and built much like Tests. The survey results are available to the Instructor, but they are reported anonymously.

To CREATE a test so that students can take it, in the appropriate Content Area click on Assessments then Test.


Choose a test that you have previously BUILT or Imported, and continue on with the instructions or click on Create a New Test which will send you here :

1. Test Name and

  • Description
  • Whether or not to open the test in a New Window

2. Whether or not to make the test available and

  • Whether or not to put out a new announcement
  • Whether to allow multiple attempts and if so, how many
  • Whether or not to force completion:The Force Completion setting on Blackboard exams only allows for a one-time entry into the exam. If the student accidentally closes the browser, or loses the connection to the test, the student cannot continue with the exam unless the instructor intervenes and resets the exam. For this reason, DO NOT SET FORCED COMPLETION.We recommend setting the Timed Test option without using the Force Completion option for Blackboard exams.

    If the exam does not use Force Completion and the exam connection is broken, the student will be able to re-enter and continue taking the exam if the timer has not elapsed. The timer will continue to record the time from the initial exam entry. This results in less instructor intervention and less student frustration with the exam.

  • How long the student will have to take the test. Please note that this is elapsed time. If the student exits and re-enters the test, the timer DOES NOT PAUSE.
  • Whether to release a test during a specific period – from date X to date Y – please note that Blackboard 9.1 doesn’t work very well with typed in dates, use the calendar icon, and midnight is START of day, not END of day.
  • If a password is required to take the test.

3. Test Exceptions:

Tests can be set up to make an exception to a rule for a student or for a group of students (for example, if they need extra time because of a documented disability). To set test exceptions, under Test Options, Section 3 click on Add User or Group and then change the Attempts, Timer, or Availability options.


 4. Due date for test. Do not enter dates and times manually, click on the Calendar or the Clock. Remember End of Day is 11:59 NOT Midnight.

5. Self-Assessment Options. If this test is not be added to the Total in the Grade Center, unclick the top box in this section.

6.  Blackboard has an event-based method for releasing test feedback with additional feedback options to provide faculty with more control over what kinds of feedback students can or can’t see. Events can be specified to trigger specific feedback settings. One way this might be useful is if you want to show your students their grade now, but not show the correct answers until after you have finished grading all the work.  Or you can specify a date to release that grading feedback. This is where you can show or hide their Grade, All answers, their Submitted Answer, the Correct Answer, whether or not a question was answered incorrectly, and Instructor Feedback for the question, and you can decide at which stage what feedback to release.



7. Test Presentation: Decide whether to show the questions all at once, or one at a time. If you choose one at a time, you can also prevent backtracking (which you might want to do if, for example, the anwer to question 5 was part of question 7.)

8. Click Submit

When you CREATE a test, Blackboard will add a column to the Grading Center. If it is a test with forced choice questions then Blackboard will grade those questions when the test is completed and give the score and feedback you have selected to the student immediately. If the entire test is forced choice, Blackboard will enter the final grade in the grading center, otherwise it will enter a (!) in the grading center so that the instructor will know the remainder of the test still needs to be graded.

Video showing how to create a test is here:

Item Analysis.  Item analysis can be run on tests after they have been taken by students.  The Item Analysis can be useful in determining which questions might need to be looked at more closely.  For example, if most of the students who scored in the top quarter of the class in their test scores got this one WRONG, then you might want to look at either the way the question is worded, or the way you (or the textbook) are explaining this concept.

This is difficult to visualize until you have students with test grades in your course.  Here is a link to a short video created by Blackboard staff that explains how it will work. Link

7.2.2: Create Assessment, Assignment

See Section 3. The assignment can be typed or pasted in, or a file with instructions attached. Note that if the file is in WORD, EXCEL or PDF format, the appropriate software will need to be loaded on the student’s system in order for the student to view it. When an assignment is created, Blackboard will add a column to the Grading Center.

Students complete an assignment by either typing or pasting their work into the assignment screen, or by attaching a file with their assignment in it.  Either way, students should be reminded to keep a local copy of their work just in case.

7.2.23: Create Assessment, Self and Peer Assessment

The Self and Peer Assessment option allows an Instructor to create an exercise composed of one or more Questions, each with one or more Criteria, to be presented to their Students for completion and evaluation. These Assessments, along with their Questions and Criteria, can be exported and then imported for later use.

Questions provide structure and content to the Assessment. They can be simple (“What is 2 plus 2?”) or complex (“Describe the main reason for the fall of the Roman Empire.”).

The Criteria that accompany each Question provide the means to evaluate the responses to those Questions. The number or Criteria can also range from one (“Did the answer = 4?”) to many:

Does the response place the issue within the broader context of the subject? Is the response well organized and clearly laid out? Was the response proofread carefully? Was it free of significant grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors?

To Create a New Assessment:

  1. Turn on Edit Mode
  2. Select a Course Content area
  3. Click the Create Assessment button
  4. Select Self and Peer Assessment
  5. Enter a name for the assessment in the Name field
  6. Enter instructions for the assessment in the Instructions
  7. Enter the submission start date and submission end date
  8. Enter the start date and end date for the peer evaluations
  9. To allow Anonymous Evaluations, click Yes
  10. To allow Self Evaluations, click Yes
  11. To allow Submitters to view their own Evaluation Results, click Yes
  12. Enter the Number Of Submissions to Evaluate field –   Note: The number entered in the Number of Submissions to Evaluate field does not include self assessment. So if you set the number of  submissions to evaluate to 2 and your allow self- evaluation as well, then the total number of evaluations that a student is actually evaluating is 3. Enter zero (0) in this field if self-evaluations are the only kind desired for an assessment.
  13. Click Yes to make the assessment available
  14. To track the number of views, click Yes radio button
  15. Select the Display After and/or Display Until dates if necessary
  16. If necessary, set the date and time restrictions
  17. Click Submit

To Add a Question to an Assessment:

1) Click Create Question button

2) Enter the question in the Question Text Editor

3) Enter a model response in the Text Editor

4) Click Submit

To Add Criteria to a Question:

  1. Click the drop down arrow to the right of the questions
  2. Select Criteria
  3. Click Create Criteria
  4. Enter criteria text in the CriteriaText Editor
  5. Assign points
  6. Determine if partial credit is allowed
  7. Select the Feedback to User settings
  8. Click Submit

Previewing the Assessment

There are two ways to preview the assessment once it has been created, by submission and evaluation. These options provide the Instructor a chance to see the assessments as their students will. The Preview option is available from the Assessment Canvas for the appropriate assessment.

To Preview an Assessment or Submission:

  1. Navigate to the Assessment Canvas
  2. Select either submission or evaluation from the Preview button
  3. Click Go

Evaluation Preview Page

This page offers a view of all of the evaluations, regardless of their status.

Click the Evaluator user name to display their evaluation page. Each question is displayed in a grouping of tabs. Navigate through the tabs to display the submitted response for that question.

Status Displays the status of the evaluation as well as the points allocated.

To Complete a Self and Peer Assessment:

  1. Navigate to the self assessment in the Course Content area
  2. Click View/Complete Assessment
  3. Enter a question response
  4. Click Next.
  5. Repeat the preceding steps as needed
  6. Click OK when finished

Evaluating Assessments

Evaluating an Assessment allows students to provide their peers valuable feedback on the answers they have submitted.

Users can access the assessment using the same link they used to complete it and begin the evaluation. The Evaluation Overview page lists the number of submissions the student needs to evaluate (including their own), with the evaluators’ own name at the top of the list.

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7.2.4: Create Assessment, McGraw-Hill Assignment

If you are using a McGraw-Hill textbook and the Connect product, you will be able to add the assignment you choose here.

7.3 Add Interactive Tool:

7.3.1: Add Interactive Tool, Discussion Board/Blog/Journal/Wiki/Groups

It can work like a Course Link and take you to the Discussion Board page. Or, it can take you right to a specific Discussion Board Forum. If you use this make sure you put the instructions on what kind of thread to create here, because it skips over the instructions that are in the forum and takes you right to the Create Thread page.

Similar functionality for Blogs, Journals, Wikis and Groups.

Documentation on Grading Discussion is here:

You can also grade Blogs and Wikis while you are viewing and commenting on them.  When you enter the Needs Grading section of the Grade Center the Wiki will show up as one item with the group members list within the attempt.

When you create a Blog or Wiki, you choose whether or not it will be graded, and if it is graded, you will enter the number of possible points a student can earn. A column will be added to the Grade Center.

When viewing a Blog, a pane on the right hand side of your screen will show you which students have created a Blog entry, and which students have not. You can click on the student’s name under View Entries By and see their blog. To enter a grade for the student’s blog, click on Edit Grade. After you have entered the grade you can click on the next student to see their Blog.  Instructors have the options to give a single Group Grade or Individual Grade based on the participation by each student.


Unlike discussions, there is not an easy way to see a student’s combined contributions to the Blog, including their comments on other Blogs. To read the comments on each Blog you need to click on Comments.

When viewing a Wiki, click on the square at the upper right that says “Participation and Grading” to see who contributed what to the Wiki page (see above image).


Click on a student’s name under View Contributions to view their Wiki contribution and Edit their grade.  The Participant’s Contribution will display a summary of the student’s activity.  To see a detailed report of the students activity, click on the link under User’s Modifications.

User modifications will take you to the Page Comparison window.  Here you can see what the student added, removed, or changed within the wiki.

After reviewing the students contribution to a wiki, grades can be given.  If this wiki is a group project, student’s can be given a group or individual grade.  Student’s recieving a group grade will not have a grade under the individual grading area.

Grades will be automatically entered into the Grade Center.

7.3.2: Add Interactive Tool, Virtual Classroom/Chat

Not documented here.

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7.4 Create Tool Link:

Hover over the + sign at the top left of the CNM and click on Tool Link. Tool links that can be added to the CNM and therefore made available to students are listed below under Course Tools and include Blogs, Send Email, Tasks, My Grades, etc. Choose the tool you want to give to the students from the drop down menu, and click on the Available to Users checkbox and submit.

If you forget to click on Available to Users, you can make this link available later by clicking on the down chevrons to the right of the Tool and choosing Show Link.

7.5 Create Course Link:

If you want more than one pathway to a part of the course, you can add a course link to the Course Navigation Menu. On the CNM hover over the + sign and click on Create Course Link. Name the link and then browse for the location in the
course you want to link to.

7.6 Create External Link

Link from this item to a URL. Blackboard is expecting http://yourchosenURL.dom.  If you DON”T open that website in a new window, it is easier for them to navigate back.

7.7 Create Module Page

A Module Page looks like the Announcements or Home Page.

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7.8 Create Subheader / Create Divider

These can be useful ways of labeling and dividing the Course Navigation Menu to make it easier to follow.

Control Panel

7.9 Tools

(See Top Arrow above)

If you want your students to have access to all the tools (email, blogs, groups, My Grades etc) then make this Item  available. If you do NOT want to make tools available, but want to give your students specific tools (Send Email, My Grades) see section Create Tool Link.

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Control Panel Functions

(See 2nd Arrow Above)

The Control Panel is for the Instructor’s use and is not visible to Students.

8. Course Files

Course Files enables you to see and change what files you have uploaded to your Blackboard Course.

Prior to Release 9.1, the way to add a file to a Course was to upload that file from the local computer and attach that file to a content item (or question or forum post, and so on). When an Instructor took that action, the attached file was placed in a “hidden” files system within Blackboard Learn.

Although the workflow for uploading that file from the desktop remains the same, all files uploaded by an Instructor will be placed automatically in Course Files.

Selecting Files: For all clients, the workflow for attaching files now allows users to:

  • Select items to attach from the local computer or from the Course Files area
  • Select multiple files from multiple directories without having to attach each file separately.

Unpackaging Files: Prior to Release 9.1, if an Instructor had created a website to add to a Course, the Instructor would have to

  1. make sure that the website used relative links
  2. zip up the files,
  3. attach the zip file to a content item
  4. unpackage the files to the “hidden” file system, and then
  5. select a launch page.

If the Instructor wanted to edit that website, the previous attachment had to be deleted and the entire process repeated.

With Release 9.1, this approach has been streamlined. Instructors:

  1. upload a zip package directly to Course Files
  2. unzip it, and then
  3. create a link from the content item to the index page in Course Files.

If the Instructor wants to make a change to the site, the affected files can be edited and uploaded to Course Files individually.

By default, when an earlier version of Blackboard Learn is upgraded to Release 9.1, nothing changes. For existing Courses, the files used in the Course will still be stored in the existing, hidden server-side file system that is not visible or exposed to Instructors. Any new files added to an existing Course will be added to Course Files. For new Courses created after the upgrade, all files will be added to Course Files.

8.1 Overwriting Files

If you want to replace your Syllabus.doc for 2010 with a Syllabus.doc for 2011, you can do this via Course Files. Click on Control Panel, Files, then click on your Course ID. To replace a file, click on the down chevrons to the right of the file and choose Overwrite. You can ONLY overwrite if the file name is the same.

8.2 Bulk Uploading of Files

You can also use Course Files during course set up. Suppose you have all the files you need in a folder on your computer or shared drive. You can upload them all at once using Course Files. Click on Control Panel, Files and click on the Course ID. Click on Upload, Upload Files and make sure that Multiple Files is chosen at the upper right of the pane. Then you can Browse and choose all the files you want to upload (using your Shift or Ctrl key) and click on Open then Submit. Your files will be uploaded to your course, but your students won’t be able to see them until you put them in the correct place. To do that, go to the Content Area where you want the link for the file to be and click on Build Content, File. Click on Browse Course, and all the files you uploaded will be presented for you to choose which one(s) you want.

One advantage to Course files is you can download all your files from the Course and store it outside of Blackboard. For example, if you come across interesting or useful new content in a semester when you are not teaching the course, you can add this to the folder with all the other Blackboard Content you have downloaded, and think about where to present it later.

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9. Course Tools

Course Tools give you the option of creating useful information to pass on to students. In order for students to see the Course tools, such as a Blog, Contacts, Blackboard Collaborate or Journals you will need to either Add Tool Link to the Content Menu on the left, or create a link within a Content Area with the Tools drop-down menu.


9.1 Discussion Board

You can put a link to the Discussion Board into a content area, if that is helpful in your course design. See documentation about Discussion Boards here.

9.2 Blogs

Blogs are similar to Discussions but present differently on the screen to the viewer.  In a COMMENT on a Blog entry, the responder can only comment via text, not via posting a link, photo or other file.

9.3 Journals

Journals are basically Discussion Boards that can be set up as Private.

9.4 Wikis

Wikis are ways groups of students can collaborate together on an assignment.  When grading a wiki you can see which contribution has been made by which student so that even though it is a group effort, it is possible to assign individualized grades.

9.5 Groups

See documentation here

9.6 Chat and Virtual Classroom

These tools have been replaced by the Blackboard Collaborate functionality. They did not support audio or screensharing, so they had limited capabilities.

9.7 Blackboard Collaborate

There is Blackboard Collaborate capability within every Blackboard course. In a Blackboard Collaborate session instructors can share their slides, share their desktop to show applications, and “chat” via text box. Students can hear and see the presentation, can”chat” and can participate in polls, and up to 6 participants can talk and/or share their cameras conversationally/simultaneously. Students can also ‘break out’ into small groups in virtual breakout rooms. Instructors can choose to record a Blackboard Collaborate session, for students who missed the synchronous class or ahead of time in the classroom, or as a way of recording a lecture.

Your Course Room and your Professor Room. Both rooms are by default shared with all students in your course, and the Professor Room is shared with all your students in all your courses. You can edit the settings of either room, and in addition, you can create a Session that has its own individual settings.

For more information about how to configure your Blackboard Collaborate session(s) from within your Blackboard course, Blackboard’s documentation is here.

To set up Office Hours and put a link in a Content Area, follow the instructions here:

  1. Create a Content Area called Virtual Office Hours (click on the little plus at the top of your Blackboard course’s Content Menu, choose Content Area, name it and make it Available to students)
  2. Click on Tools, then Blackboard Collaborate. Click on Create Session. Choose the options that apply. Pay particular attention to the defaults, which set the number of simultaneous speakers and cameras to 3. This can be changed, up to 6.  Also, if you want to restrict this session to only specific users, you would do that here. The default Recording is set to Manual, so when you are ready to record in the Blackboard Collaborate session, click on the little Record button at the top right.
  3. Once the Session is created, click hover over it and from the little down arrows choose Add Link. Put the link to the session in the Virtual Office Hours Content Area that you just created.

To put links into your Course Modules for recorded sessions, follow the instructions here:

  1. Click on Tools, then Blackboard Collaborate.
  2. Click on Recordings.
  3. When you find the correct recording, hover over it and from the little down arrows choose Add Link.  Choose the Course Module (content area) where you want to put the link to the recording.

Further documentation on Blackboard Collaborate, that will help you and your students connect successfully,  is here

9.1 Announcements

Friendly and efficient announcements are crucial. Train your students to pay attention to announcements by putting useful and timely information there.

To Create an announcement, click on Course Tools, Announcements, Create Announcement (if you scroll down to section 2, “Options,” you have the ability to set time & date restrictions on your announcement).  If something is urgent or important, you should also choose to Email your students the Announcement.

After you have created your most recent announcement, use the double headed arrow sign to the left of the announcement to move it to the top of the screen, so your students can see it.

9.5 Contacts

You may add contact information for other faculty or other people working with your students on this course.  Remember, if you want students to see this contact information, you must create a Tool Link that links to it.

9.5 Course Calendar

You can use this to put in dates of significance for your course.  Courses are color coded, and the student or instructor can choose which courses to view on the Calendar by clicking on the little box to the left.  Also, instructors can drag and drop an Assignment or Test to change the due date, or click on an entry in the calendar to Edit it, or go from a Calendar entry that is an Assignment or Test straight to the Grade Center for that course.  Students can click on a calendar entry and Go straight to the Assignment or the Test.


9.6 Date Management

From the Control Panel, choose Date Management.  Because our terms are different for RCW, Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, GTE, MDCHS etc, we cannot make use of the Course Start Date feature in Blackboard, so the most useful ways for you to take advantage of Date Management is:
“List All Dates For Review” which will give you the view of all the dates in your course and the ability to check them before editing them.



It may take a few minutes for Date Management to run, and you will see a progress bar as it is running.   When it is completed, click on Next.
You can edit the dates one at a time by clicking on the pencil at the far right of the screen, or you can mark some or all of the items with dates and adjust them together.  To adjust all the dates from this screen, click on Select All, then Adjust Dates.  When the pane at the bottom of the screen comes up, fill in the number of days you want to move the dates forward.  Fill in a negative number if you want to move the dates back.  Click on Go.

9.7 Discussion Board

This will take you to the Discussion Board.

9.8 Glossary:

Not required at this stage at Mary Baldwin.

9.9 Journals

Journals are shared between the student and the instructor only, not between students. Setting them up and  viewing/grading them is like Discussions.

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9.10 Rubrics


From the Control Panel area select Course Tools > Rubrics.

  1. Click on the Create Rubric button.
  2. In the Rubric Information area, enter the Name and Description.
  3. Create a rubric by entering Criteria (rows) for measuring Levels of Achievement (columns).  Each row and column can be edited or removed using the contextual menu next to the row and column names.  Rows and columns can be added by using the Add Row and Add Column buttons.
  4. Check the Show Points option to provide points for each Levels of Achievement.
  5. Click Submit.

Rubric Percentage

  1. From the Control Panel area select Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Locate a Grade column which you want to add a rubric.
  3. Click on the Action Link (the two arrows pointing downward) next to the Grade column name.
  4. Select the View and Add Rubrics option.
  5. Click on the Add Rubric button.
  6. Check the desired rubric(s).
  7. Click Submit.

NOTE: Once a rubric is added to a grade column in the Grade Center, you can view the rubric when you grade student performance within a grading widget for Blogs, Journals, Wikis, etc. Look for View Rubric button when you grade student
performance within a grading widget.

Your students will NOT see the rubric. You can copy and paste the rubric from the grade center into the assignment or discussion to share this information with your students. When you paste it into the Visual Edit box with the Visual
Editor ON, it will not look like a table, but don’t panic, hit submit anyway. Blackboard fixes it and it looks just fine.

9.11 SafeAssign

SafeAssign is an original content checker. It checks a vast number of documents in its own databse (previously submitted from Mary Baldwin and other institutions) and also the intenet itself.

SafeAssignments as of Blackboard 2014 allow for Inline Grading, Rubrics, and the other features of regular Assignments.

You create SafeAssignments from Assessments, Assignment.

If you have a SafeAssignment created before Blackboard 2014, you will need to copy the assignment information from the SafeAssignment into a new Assignment and remove the SafeAssignment, otherwise you won’t be able to take advantage of these features.

Under Section 4. Grading >Submission Details on the Assignment Settings. To turn this Assignment into a SafeAssignment, click on Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign.

For more information, view the video tutorial here

2) DRAFTS has been renamed to “Exclude Submissions”.  If you don’t want your students’ work to be added to the Global Database, click on Exclude Submissions.

3) If you allow more than one Submsssion for a SafeAssignment, the subsequent draft will exclude the previous draft from the search automatically.

  1. Select the Course Documents area where you want to deploy the Assignment.
  2. From the  Assessment drop down menu select Assignment
  3. Enter the Information for the SafeAssignment.
    Enter a Name, the number of Point Possible, and specific Instructions for the SafeAssignment. The point value will be shared with the Grade Center Item created for the SafeAssignment.
    Select whether or not (“Yes” or “No”) you want the SafeAssignment to be visible to students.Click the checkbox of Track Number of Views to track views of this item by students.
    Set the date range when students can interact with the SafeAssignment. You must select the checkbox first, and then set the date. Use the calendar.
    Display After: The assignment will not be visible to students until a specific date you set.
    Display Until: The assignment will be closed
    Select Student Viewable when you want students to be able to see the report generated after submission.

When the SafeAssign report has been generated, it will show up on the View Attempt/ View User Activity screen with a green checkmark. Click on the green checkmark to view the report.

9.12 Self and Peer Assessment

Self and Peer Assessment: not covered here.

9.13 Send Email

You can send email to your students, and they can use Send Email to email each other IF you have given them a link to all Course Tools OR a link straight to Send Email.

9.14 Tasks

You can create tasks for the course and they will show up on the Announcements Page.

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9.15 Tests, Surveys and Pool:

When you BUILD a test or pool it contains the name of the test, the test questions, answers, feedback, points for each  question and some sorting information which can be used to categorize questions.

The test will not be available for the students until it is CREATED as an item.

To BUILD a test in the Control Panel:

  1. Select Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools, then click on Tests and Build Test.
  2. Fill in the name for the test.
    (Make the name descriptive and distinctive so you can find it again.)
  3. Enter a Description and Instructions if desired.
  4. Click Submit
  5. Then click on Create Question and choose which question format to use.
  6. Click OK when all questions have been built.
    (You will be taken to the Test Bank page.  Your test has not been deployed at this point.)

Questions can be forced-choice, and therefore graded automatically by Blackboard: calculated formula or numeric, multiple choice, multiple answer, fill in the blank, either/or, jumbled sentence, hot spot, matching, ordering, true/false, and ordering.

Or, questions can be open and will require grading by the instructor: file response (attached file), essay, and short answer.

Tests can have combinations of any types of questions.

When editing a test, a new test question can be placed in the desired location with respect to other questions that have already been created.  Just click on the + sign in between the two questions on either side of the new question location.


Pools can be created with a superset of questions, then the instructor can build a test using the questions in the pool.  To add questions from a Pool to a Test, click on Reuse Questions, then Find Questions.  Click on Pools to choose the questions you want to add to your test.

Once your test has been built, it can be deleted, edited or exported by clicking on the down chevrons from the Tests page.


A test pool generator created by the College of Southern Idaho allows instructors to create a test pool in word instead of loading each question separately in Blackboard.

Using the Test Pool Generator

Step 1: Formatting

  1. Open a Word Document.
  2. Enter Question using the specific Question Formats for each question type.
  • Questions start with a Number and a period and are finished with a carriage return (Shift+Enter).
  • Put a blank line between questions.
  • Don’t use newlines or return characters except when you’re going on to the next question or answer.  This is especially important if you’re pasting in questions from another program like Word.

Question Formats:

Step 2: Convert the Test Pool using the Test Pool Generator

  1. Copy your test from the Word Document (Ctrl-C).
  2. Open http://www.csi.edu/blackboard/bbquiz/Default.aspx
  3. Paste (CTRL-V) your test into the text box.
  4. Click on Create Quiz button.
  5.  Note the number of questions detected. If the number is incorrect, check formatting again.
  6. Click on the here button, then select a location to save the file to, name the file, and save. Be sure to note the location of the saved file.

Step 3:Uploading Test Pool Generator Questions to a Blackboard Test

  1. Log into your course and ensure Edit Mode is ON.
  2. Click on the Course Tools area of the Control Panel.
  3. From the drop down menu, select Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
  4. Click on Pools.
  5. Click on Import Pool
  6. Browse for the file and import it.  Click Submit.  Click OK.
  7. Click on the down chevron and Edit the new Pool and Edit the number of points for each question.  Press OK to save this.
  8. Go back to Tests, Surveys and Pools.
  9. Click on Tests.
  10. Click on Build Test then type a Name, Description, and Instructions then click Submit
  11. If you are using a pool to create a random set of questions for your test, click Reuse Questions, Create Random Block
  12. Choose the questions from the pool that you want to put in this test.  Also, choose the type of question (Multiple Choice, T/F, etc).  Review the questions to ensure the correct ones are selected.  Click Submit.

NOTE: If an Error message appears, or the test questions are not displayed correctly, the Word document was probably not formatted correctly. Make changes and copy/paste it again into the Test Generator.

Step 4: Modifying Uploaded Test Questions

Once you have uploaded your test questions, you can create, edit, and delete them on the Test Canvas page.

  1. Click the action link next to the question.
  2. Choose Edit, make any necessary changes to the question text, point value, and answers. Click Submit.
  3. If you cannot edit the question the way you wish to, just delete it and copy the question in correctly.


Multiple Choice

  • Question on a single line.
  • Answers immediately following the question.  Answers start with a letter followed by a closed parenthesis sign and are followed by a carriage return.
  • Asterisk (*) in front of the correct choice.


1. Which of the following is a prime number?
a) 4
*b) 5
c) 6

Multiple Answer

  • Exactly the same as multiple choice, only with multiple answers marked correct.
  • Question on a single line.
  • Answers immediately following the question.
  • Asterisk (*) in front of all correct choice.


1. Which of the following is a prime number?
*a) 2
*b) 3
d) 4
*e) 5
f) 6
*g) 7


  • Question on a single line
  • The answer on the next line. Can be any of the following: T, t, True, TRUE, true, F, f, False, FALSE, false


1. 3 is a prime number.


  • This is simply a question with no answer given.


1. Tell me your life story.

Fill in the blank

  • Begin your question with the keyword: blank
  • Leave a blank somewhere in the question.
  • Give all of the possible correct answers.


blank 1. Two plus two equals _____.
a. four
b. 4


  • Begin your question with the keyword: match
  • Put the matches separated by slashes (/).
  • You can have entries with no match, i.e. leave the other side blank.
  • The entries will be randomized.


match 1. Match the number with it’s spelling.
a. 3 / three
b. 1 / one
c. 12 / twelve
d. 4 / four

Using the Test Generator

A test generator created by BYU-Idaho allows instructors to create their test in word instead of loading each question separately in Blackboard.

Step 1: Formatting

  1. Open a Word Document.
  2. Enter Question using the specific Question Formats for each question type.
  • Number your test questions.
  • Do not put numbers/letters next to the responses.
  • Press enter after the question and each answer.
  • Do not skip lines between the question and the answers.
  • Skip one line between test questions.
  • The test generator works best with the following types of questions. You can use any combination of these question types:

Question Formats:

Step 2: Convert the Test using the Test Generator

  1. Copy your test from the Word Document.
  2. Open  http://www2.byui.edu/ATS/testgen.htm
  3. Paste (CTRL-V) your test into the text box.
  4. Click on the Save as text file button.  NOTE: If you are using Internet Explorer and receive an error message that “Internet Explorer was not able to open this Internet site”, check the formatting of your Word document. Make sure there are no tabbed spaces or extraneous  characters.
  5. Click Save on the File Download window, then select a location to save thefile to, name the file, and save. Be sure to note the location of the saved file.

Open the saved file to check for possible errors.

This step will open the raw data file in Notepad. You can perform a quick check to see if there are any obvious errors. If there are errors, it will have question marks in the left column. Question marks mean that the Test Generator did not understand what kind of question you were asking. You will want to check to make sure you formatted your Word document correctly before reattempting the test generation process.

Step 3:Uploading Test Generator Questions to a Blackboard Test

  1. Log into your course and ensure Edit Mode is ON.
  2. Click on the Course Tools area of the Control Panel.
  3. From the drop down menu, select Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
  4. Click on Tests.
  5. Click on Build Test then type a Name, Description, and Instructions then click Submit
  6. Click Upload Questions then click GO.
  7. Click Browse to find the test questions you saved from the test generator then click Open.
  8. Set the number of points possible per question.
  9. Click Submit.

NOTE: If an Error message appears, the Word document was probably not formatted correctly. Make changes and copy/paste it again into the Test Generator.

Step 4: Modifying Uploaded Test Questions

Once you have uploaded your test questions, you can create, edit, and delete them on the Test Canvas page.

  1. Click the action link next to the question.
  2. Choose Edit, make any necessary changes to the question text, point value, and answers. Click Submit.


Multiple Choice:

  • Type your question, and on the very next line start your answers.
  • Put an (*) asterisk directly in front of the correct answer.


1. Which one of these is not another name for sugar?
maple syrup

Multiple Answer:

  • Type your question, and on the very next line start your answers.
  • Put an (*) asterisk directly in front of any correct answer.


2. Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Three parts of a grain kernel are:


  • Type your question, and type True on the very next line.
  • On the line after that, type False (NOTE: T and F will not work).
  • Put an (*) asterisk directly in front of the correct answer.


4. The meat and beans food group includes only beef and lima beans.


  • Type your question, and give no answer. Move on to the next question number.


3. What should you consider when selecting food from the fruit group?


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10. Evaluation

10.1 Course Reports

Course reports functionality includes reports on accesses to Content Area, Forums, by Groups and overall summary of usage for the course.

10.2 Early Warning System

The Early Warning System is a Blackboard tool used to monitor student progress in a course and alert faculty to possible performance problems. The tool can also be used to communicate those warnings to students themselves to let them
know how their performance is being measured. Notification warnings can be generated based on a set of rules that take into account graded performance, late or missing course work, or the Blackboard course access.

Creating a Grade Rule

This rule is based on the students’ grade for a particular assessment. It can be an automated Blackboard assessment such as a test, a survey, or a SafeAssignment, or a manually added assessment.

  1. Click the Control Panel button on the left side of the screen in your Course homepage.
  2. Under Assessments click Early Warning System.
  3. Click the Grade Rule button.
  4. In the Grade Rule page, enter a descriptive rule name.
  5. In the Select a Grade Center Item, choose the assessment from the drop-down menu. Then define the criteria and the score for the rule.
  6. Click the Submit button.
  7. If a rule has been successfully added, Blackboard will display a yellow bar at the top of the page. To close it, click the Close button.  Note: Blackboard will not automatically run the checks on the rule. Faculty need to click the Refresh button to generate warnings. Please refer to the Refreshing Warning Notification Rules to learn how to do that.
  8. The rule can now be viewed on the Early Warning Page.

Creating a Due Date Rule

This rule generates warning notifications based on the specified due dates for
assessments that are created and graded through Blackboard, such as tests, surveys,
and assignments created with the built-in assignment tool. The rule cannot be
created for items manually added to the Grade Center.

  1. Click the Control Panel button on the left side of the screen in your Course
  2. Under Assessments click Early Warning System.
  3. Click the Due Date Rule button.
  4. In the Due Date Rule page, enter a descriptive rule name.
  5. In the Select a Grade Center Item, choose the assessment from the drop-down menu. Assignment and Assessment Grade Center Items with a Due Date can be selected. Due Date appears in parentheses in the drop-down box.
  6. For Grade Center Items that allow multiple attempts, specify which attempt to use for rule evaluation. Single attempt Grade Center Items are not influenced by this setting. Entering a value in Date Offset will apply to the Grade Center Item’s Due Date by either adding or subtracting days without changing the actual Due Date. Specify only positive values.
  7. Click the Submit button.

If a rule has been successfully added, Blackboard will display a yellow bar at the top of the page. To close it, click the Close button.  Note: Blackboard will not automatically run the checks on the rule. Faculty need to click the Refresh button to generate warnings. Please refer to the Refreshing Warning Notification Rules to learn how to do that.

Creating a Last Access Rule

The last access rule checks when students last accessed the Blackboard course.

  1. Click the Control Panel button on the left side of the screen in your Course homepage.
  2. Under Assessments click Early Warning System.
  3. Click the Last Access Rule button.
  4. In the Last Access Rule page, enter a descriptive rule name and the number of days since the last access.
  5. Click the Submit button.
  6. If a rule has been successfully added, Blackboard will display a yellow bar at the top of the page. To close it, click the Close button.  Note: Blackboard will not automatically run the checks on the rule. Faculty need to click the Refresh button to generate warnings. Please refer to the Refreshing Warning Notification Rules to learn how to do that.

Refreshing Early Warning System Rules

Blackboard does not continuously run checks on the rules set up by faculty. Faculty need to click the Refresh button to generate warnings. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Control Panel button on the left side of the screen in your Course homepage.
  2. Under Assessments click Early Warning System.
  3. Click in the checkboxes to the left of the rules to select them, then click the Refresh button to run the checks.
  4. In the confirmation dialog box press OK.
  5. Blackboard displays a yellow confirmation bar at the top of the page. To close it, click the Close button. Faculty will receive an email when the refresh process has completed.
  6. The Early Warning System page needs to be refreshed in the browser for the latest number of warnings to be displayed. Faculty can simply navigate to the Control Panel and then back to the Early Warning System page to see the updated
    number of notification warnings.

Reviewing Warnings and Sending Notifications

Blackboard will not automatically send warning notifications to students. Faculty need to review the warnings and decide to whom they would like to send email notifications. To review the warnings and send notifications, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Control Panel button on the left-hand side of the screen in your Course homepage.
  2. Under Assessments click Early Warning System.
  3. Click on the name of the rule that you would like to review.
  4. In the Review Rule Status page, if a student’s performance meets the criteria of the rule, it will be indicated in the Meets Criteria column as ‘Yes.’
  5. To contact the students who meet the criteria of the rule, click in the checkboxes to the left of the student names and then in top right-hand corner of the page click the Go button next to the Notify box.
  6. On the Send Notificaton page, modify the Subject and the Message of the email notification to be sent to students.
  7. Click in the checkbox next to the Return Receipt to be sent a copy of this notification and, optionally, attach a file.
  8. Click the Submit button to send the notification.

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10.3 Performance Dashboard

This tool allows instructors to view key information and outcomes for all users. The Performance Dashboard displays the last time a user logged in, their course role, Adaptive Release criteria, Review Status for content items, and grades.

  1. Select Evaluation from the Control Panel area.
  2. Select Performance Dashboard.
    This brings you directly into the Performance Dashboard where you can see students’ Last Name, First Name, Username, and their Role in the course.
    Last Course Access is shown next and it gives you the date and time the student last entered the course in Blackboard. If they have never entered the course it says Never next to the students’ role.
    Days Since Last Course Access shows the exact number of days since students have been inside the course. It keeps a count from their last course access to the present day.
    Review Status needs to be enabled for use. If enabled, it lets you see how many items have been viewed in the course. Click the number underneath Review Status which brings you to the content item, if the item is visible, and if the student has reviewed the item.
    Adaptive Release needs to be enabled within the course to view the Adaptive Release status. If this is enabled, you will see what the students have Reviewed,Not Reviewed or what is Visible or Not Visible to the students within the course.
    Discussion Board shows you how many Discussion Boards the student has taken part in. Click the number underneath Discussion Board to show the forums they have participated in, the total number of posts, date of last post, average, minimum, and maximum post lengths, average post position, and their grade if that is enabled.
    Click Email user to send the student an email.
    Early Warning System needs to be enabled within the course. If this tool is enabled it shows the number of warnings and the number of rules. Click number under Early Warning System to open and show rules enabled in the course. Click Notify to send the student an Email notification that the Grade Center item is due.
    View Grades allows the instructor to open and view the students’ grades, statistics, and personal information.

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11. Grade Center

11.1 Needs Grading

If tests or assignments or SafeAssignments have been completed and are awaiting grading, an entry will be made in the Grade Center, Needs Grading screen. Click on the underlined User Name to view the attempt that needs grading.

11.2 Full Grade Center

The nerve center of Blackboard’s evaluation system is the Grade Center. To get there, on the Control Panel, click on Grade Center and Full Grade Center:

When you click on the Grade Center button, you will see (in the main pane) a spreadsheet which includes the last name, first name and student id of the students registered in your class as well as students’ user names, last access, availability, and weighted total. These columns are “frozen”, meaning that they will always appear in the view of the grade book: however,
these columns (as well as other columns that you create) can be hidden from view (yours and students) or “unfrozen.”

Managing the Viewing Pane:

To hide, freeze or unfreeze columns, and to organize columns as you wish, click on “Manage” and then “Column Organization”.

  • To make a “frozen” column “unfrozen”, click on the 4-headed arrow next to the column name and drag to below the bar that reads “Everything above this column is a frozen column.”
  • To “unfreeze” a column, click on the 4-headed arrow next to the column name and drag it to above the bar that reads “Everything above this column is a frozen column.”
  • To hide a column from yourself, click in the box next to the column to select it, then scroll down to the bottom of the main window and place your cursor on the “Show/Hide” button. Click on “ Hide selected columns.”
  • To reorganize columns, click on the 4-headed arrow next to the column name and drag the column to the preferred position among the other columns in the grade book.
  • Click “submit” at the bottom of the view to activate the changes.

To create a new column in the grade book:

NOTE: If you create a GRADED discussion, journal, blog, assignment or test, the GRADE CENTER COLUMN WILL BE CREATED AUTOMATICALLY. You only need to add columns to the grade center for things like “Attendance”, “Participation”, “In Class Presentation” and other items that are NOT in Blackboard.

  1. Click on “Create Column”;
  2. Enter a column name in the column field (e.g., Discussion #1);
  3. In “primary display”, select the entry type (e.g., score, grade, complete/incomplete);
  4. Optional: select a category from the category drop down menu. Assigning columns to a category is useful when calculating an average based on a number of individual grades (e.g., quiz average, homework average). A number of default categories exist, but new categories can be created. To create a new category:
    Point cursor to “Manage”, click on “Categories”, Click on “Create Category”, and give the category a name and description, if desired. Click “Submit”.
  5. In “points possible”, enter the maximum number of points (hint: you must enter a point value even for complete/incomplete);
  6. Set your preferred options. Tip: if values in a given column will be used directly to calculate the final grade, leave the option “Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations” set to “yes”. If values in a given column will need to be transformed in some way (e.g. added together with other values to form an average), you might want to select “no”. Blackboard maintains a “running total” column which is sometimes confusing to students because it weighs all columns the same;
  7. Click “submit” to save changes to the grade book.

To hide a column from your students’ view:

Click on the down chevrons at the top of the column. Click on Edit Column Information. At 3.Options, click on No for Show this Column to Students.

To create an average column:

  1. Place the cursor on “Create Calculated Column”, and click on “Average Column”.
  2. Give the column a name in the “Column Name” field.
  3. Scroll down to “Select Columns” (#3). Next to “Include in Average”, click “Selected Columns and Categories”.
  4. In the “Columns to Select” or “Categories to Select” field, click on the columns or categories of the grades to be used to calculate the average and move them to the “Selected Columns” field by clicking on the arrow button between the two fields.
  5. If calculating an average from categories, there are several more options to choose from: to weight columns equally or proportionally, to drop any number of highest and lowest grades in the category, or to use only the highest or lowest value.
  6. Scroll down to “Calculate as Running Total”. If ungraded or missing items should be included in the average, select “No.” If ungraded or missing items should be excluded in calculating the average, select “Yes”.
  7. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Submit”.

Weighted grades:

When graded elements in a course are weighted, use “Create calculated column” to keep an accurate running total:

  1. Point the cursor to “Create calculated column” and click on “Weighted column”;
  2. Enter a name in “column name” field;
  3. Under #3 (Select the columns and categories to include in this weighted grade and then set the weight percentages), you will see all of the columns that were set to be included in the grade center calculations and the categories they correspond to when the columns were created.
    • Click on a column or category that you would like to include in the weighted total column, then click on the right arrow next to the box of columns to move the column to the “Selected Columns” field.
    • Enter a weighted percentage for each of the selections.
      While (as Blackboard points out) “percentages should add up to 100 percent” , they do not have to add up to 100 for you to proceed. (This might be the case when you haven’t created a column yet for a weighted component);
    • If a category was selected to be included in the weighted total column, you must select how to weigh the columns in the category.
      • Select Equally to apply equal value to all columns within a category.
      • Select Proportionally to apply the appropriate value to a column based on its points compared to other columns in the category.
      • Categories also have the option to Drop Grades or Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate.
  4. Set Options, and click “Submit”.

How to Drop the Lowest Score:

Through a simple 4-step process, instructors can automate their Grade Center
to evaluate and drop a student’s lowest grade or grades from a series of
quizzes, tests, or assignments and re-calculate a new total grade that accounts
for this change.

STEP 1: Create a New Grade Center Category if necessary

In this step, you must create a new category which you will apply to like items (i.e. quizzes) that you want to evaluate and calculate point values from.  Some categories, like Discussions or Tests, already exist.  However, if you don’t want ALL of the items in that category to be included in this total, you’ll need to create a new category as below.

  1. On the Grade Center page, roll your mouse over the MANAGE button and select CATEGORIES from the pop-up menu.
  2. This will take you to the CATEGORIES page. Click on the CREATE CATEGORY button.
  3. The CREATE CATEGORY page will appear. Give this new category a logical name (Chapter Quizzes) and a description. Click SUBMIT.

STEP 2: Organize and Assign Items to the New Category

Now, you must assign this new category to your items.

  1. Return to the Grade Center. Roll your mouse over the MANAGE button. This time, select the COLUMN ORGANIZATION link from the pop-up menu.
  2. On the COLUMN ORGANIZATION page, scroll down to the “Not in a Grading Period” section.
    For each item you want to add to the new category (Chapter 1 Quiz, Chapter 2 Quiz etc), CHECK the CHECKBOX next to the item’s name.
    Next, roll your mouse over the CHANGE CATEGORY TO button and select the name of the new category (Chapter Quizzes) you created in Step 1. Click SUBMIT. The category will be assigned to your selected items.

STEP 3: Create a New Calculated Column

In this step, you must create a new, calculated column to calculate the score for your categorized items and drop the lowest scoring item.

  1. Return to the Grade Center.
  2. Next, roll your mouse over the CREATE CALCULATED COLUMN button and select TOTAL COLUMN from the pop-up menu.
  3. This will take you to the CREATE TOTAL COLUMN page. Fill out the following sections:
    Section 1 (Column Information): Give your column a logical name (Chapter Quizzes – LGD) and description.
    Section 3 (Select Columns): Next to the words “Include in Total”, select the option that says SELECTED COLUMNS AND CATEGORIES.
    SELECT CATEGORY: Selection tools will appear. Only select the CATEGORY (Chapter Quizzes) you assigned to your columns in Step 2. Click on the little arrows to move the category to the SELECTED COLUMNS pane. Because you assigned this category to your columns, those columns will automatically be evaluated by association.
    DROP GRADES SETTINGS: In the SELECTED COLUMNS pane, under your category, there will be an area to indicate settings for dropping grades. To drop the single lowest grade from the categorized columns, TYPE a 1 in the DROP LOWEST GRADES text-box.
    Next, scroll down to where it says CALCULATE AS RUNNING TOTAL.
    If you would like to include missing or non-graded items in this total, select NO. Missing or non-graded items will be calculated as if they are worth 0 points.
    If you would like to exclude missing or non-graded items from the total, select YES. These items will not count towards this total.
    When you are done, click SUBMIT

STEP 4: Adjust Your Total Column

In this step, you must adjust your course’s overall total column to account for the changes you have made in the past steps, so that a final course grade is accurately calculated.

  1. Return to your Grade Center and locate the column labeled as TOTAL.
  2. On this Total column, click on the double-down arrows next to its name and select EDIT COLUMN INFORMATION from the pop-up menu.
  3. You will be taken to the EDIT COLUMN INFORMATION page. Skip down to section 3.
    SELECT COLUMNS: Select the new calculated column you created in the previous steps instead of the individual items that it draws from ( i.e. Chapter Quizzes – LGD). Select any other items you want to include in this Total column (i.e. assignments, tests – but do not select anything which is already included in the new column).
    CALCULATE RUNNING TOTAL: Indicate whether or not you want to include non-graded or items without grades in this running total. By selecting YES, non-graded items are not included in the total. Selecting NO includes them in the running
    total with a worth of 0 points.
    When you are done, click SUBMIT.
  4. You will be returned to you your Grade Center.

Your new calculated column (i.e. Chapter Quizzes – LGD) will display a cumulative point value, less the lowest graded item, from your categorized columns.

The Total column now reflects this change in its calculation of a final course grade.

To download the full grade book into an Excel file:

  1. Point the cursor to “Work Offline” (top right corner of the grade book), and click on “Download”;
  2. Click “Submit”, then “Download”, and “Save”;
  3. Choose the location of the file and then click “Save”;
  4. Click “open” and then click “yes” if you receive a message about the file not being in a certain format. As you make changes to this file and try to save it, you may continue to receive messages about compatibility issues. Always choose to  keep the file in its current format, so that you can successfully upload it back to the Gradebook.
  5. In the Blackboard window, click “ok”.

To upload from an Excel into the Grade Center:

  1. Point the cursor to “Work Offline” (top right corner of the grade book), and click on “Upload”;
  2. Click the “Browse” button to locate the file;
  3. Click “Submit”;
  4. Select which columns to upload and then click “Submit”.

To download assignments from the Grade Center for reviewing and grading offline.

You might want to work off line if you are trying to grade from home with a slow internet connection, or from a train or airplane while you’re traveling. You can download all your assignments and then grade them, put your comments
on them and get them ready for uploading again when you’re back online.

This is especially useful if your students are submitting Word documents and you are planning to use Track Changes to mark them up as you are grading.

Go to the Full Grade Center. On the top of the column with the Assignments in it, click on Assignment File Download. Click in the little boxes to the left of the students whose work you want to download, or click in the little box at the top to Select All, then click on Submit. Click on the Download Assignments Now link and save the zip file.

The zip file will contain a text file with any comments the student submitted with their assignment, and the Word document or other file that is attached to the Assignment.

The files will be named something like Assignment1_abstudent9999_attempt_dateandtime_attachefilename.

You can open the Assignment attachment in Word, mark it up and then save it as, for example,  Assignment1_abstudent2112_96.doc or Essay_abstudent2112A-.doc, so then when you go to upload the marked up Assignment to send it back to the student you will have the grade right in front of you so you don’t have to open the file again to look it up.

Once you have graded all the Assignments, named them usefully, and you are back online, go back into Needs Grading and go to each student, attach the marked up assignment and fill in their grade.

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11.3 Favorites (Assignments/Tests/etc)

If a Grade Center Smart View has “favorites” clicked, it will show up in Control Center, Grade Center. You can use the “smart views” to view ONLY the columns and rows in your gradebook that fulfill a certain criteria.

In the Full Grade Center, click on Manage and Smart views.

Give your smart view a name – i.e. Assignments Not Attempted

Click on Add as Favorite to make this Smart View show up in the Control Panel under Grade Center.

Click on Category and Status.

Click on Categories=All, Users=All Users

Click on Filter: Not Attempted

Click on Submit.

Your course may already come with 2 default smart views, Assignments and Tests. If you don’t want these smart views, you can delete them from Manage Smart Views by clicking on the down chevrons next to the name of the smart view and clicking on Delete, or removing them from Favorites.

11.4 Extra Credit

Extra Credit using the Total Column as the Final (No weighted grades)

This method of assigning extra credit assumes that Total is a “Total Grade” calculated column that simply adds up the scores for each student and displays as a score.

1.  Create a column in the grade center labeled “extra credit”
2.  Included it in the total computation
3.  Set the “points possible” to 0, and then actually assign a larger value.

Note: If you change the display of a column to anything other than “score” you’ll have trouble with columns that have a “pts possible” of 0.

(If the columns with a points possible of “0” are not automatically included in a total calculation you can modify the total column and in section 3 instead of having “Include in total” set to “All Grade Columns” set it to “Selected Grade Columns, Calculated Columns and Categories” and make sure that your extra credit column is selected along with any others that are being used in the grading rubric.)

Adding Extra Credit to a Weighted Column

Option 1: Simple weighted grades

Adding extra credit points to a weighted column in Blackboard Learn can easily be accomplished with three grade center columns. Assuming your weighted total column is already created we will need to create an Extra Credit column and a Final Grade Column.

Creating an Extra Credit Column

1.  From the Grade Center menu click Create Column
2.  Enter a name for the column, for this example I will use “Extra Credit.”
3.  OPTIONAL: Enter a column description.
4.  For Primary Display select “Score” from the drop-down box.
5.  For Points Possible enter “0.”
6.  Click Submit

Creating the Final Grade Column

1.  From the Grade Center menu hover over the Create Calculated Column button and
2.  Click Total Column.
3.  Enter a name for the column, for this example I will use “FINAL GRADE.”
4.  OPTIONAL: Enter a column description.
5.  For Primary Display select “Percentage” from the drop-down box.
6.  Click the radio button for “Selected Columns and Categories“ under Select Columns
7.  Select Extra Credit & Weighted Total, move them to the “Selected  Columns” List.
8.  For Calculate as Running Total select Yes.
9.  Click Submit

Option 2: Adding extra credit to an existing column

An easy way to add extra credit without too much extra math involved is to put those points in an existing column.

You will have to make some decisions about the proportions of your extra credit. Adding extra points in a column in the Midterm category will weight those points higher than adding them to a column in the Participation category, etc.

Once you’ve chosen a column to add extra credit to:

1.  Go into the settings for your weighted total.
2.  Find the column you are adding the extra credit to, underneath “Selected Columns”
2.  Select “Weight Columns: Proportionally.”
2.  This way, their extra credit will be calculated appropriately.

Option 3: Creating a separate extra credit column

If you really want to use a separate extra credit column in a course that has weighted grades by reducing the weight of your current column(s) by 1%.

1.  Give the extra credit column a points possible of 1 (1% Weighted)
2.  Set display to Score
3.  Reduce the weight of some other column(s) of your course by 1%.
4.  Give each student in your class 1 point in the extra credit column for merely being in
the course, any points above 1 will be extra credit.
4. (otherwise the rest of the assignments add up to only 99%).
5.  Assign an appropriate value for extra credit.
  5.To give a student 5 percentage points bonus, give her a 6 in the extra credit column.

Example: If your assignments are each worth 3% of the course grade & you want to give an extra credit equivalent to two perfect assignments, assign the student 6 points here.

Option 4: Creating a separate extra credit column (Advanced)

This option allows you to have several different extra credit assignment, each with its own column, without changing the weights of your original columns.

1.  Create a column in your grade center for each extra credit opportunity
2.  Set the column(s) to display Score with a points possible of .001
3.  Select Edit Column Information for your Weighted Total
4.  Under Select Columns, leave the exiting columns & categories as is
5.  Add your extra credit column(s), with a weight of .001% each
6.  Click Submit
7.  You will get a warning message that your total doesn’t add up to 100%, click OK.

Note: All of your columns, including the extra credit column, are counted as very slightly less than the weight you specified, to scale the total to 100%. The points possible on the extra credit is the same as the percentage weight for the column, treating score points in extra credit as incrementing the total by that number of percentage points

Example: If Abigail Adams has 92% as her weighted total and you give her 3 points each on two extra credit assignments, her Weighted Total with Extra Credit will display as 98%.


12. Users and Groups

12.1 Users

To see who is enrolled in your course, click on Users and change the search box for User Name to Not Blank instead of Contains.

Enroll User: You should not need to Enroll or Create a User as the registrar’s file will create and enroll them for you.

Unenroll User:  If someone drops your class, you will need to unenroll them. First, find the student (Last Name Contains Jones). Then click on the down chevrons to the right of the User Name and choose Edit. From the Edit screen, go down
to Item 4 and make the user Unavailable.


Contact the Blackboard Administrator to archive the file first, and she will save it in a safe place, and then you can remove the user from your course.

12.2 Groups

The “Groups” function allows you to divide your students into working groups. Students then have the ability to email, share documents, and use the discussion board within a smaller group. Group projects can then be coordinated easily outside of class and the professor can monitor the contributions of members of the group. For example, in courses that have both Baldwin Online and Adult Programs and RCW students, the groups function allows you to email or provide different assignments to each group of students.

When creating groups using Manual Enrollment, you can Add Users easily by clicking the box at 5. and then choosing the students  in the popup window.  Click Submit and then Submit.  In order to create a new Smart View for Grading, click in the Create smart view box at 4.


Also in Groups, you can click on All Users and control Group Membership from one screen.  You can remove a student from a Group by clicking on the X to the left of the Group name, and add a student to a group by clicking on  +Add to Group and choosing a Group from a drop down menu.


The example below shows how you could set up 2 Groups if you have both RCW and Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students in a single course.

GROUPS:  Create the two groups for the two separate types of Users, using Control Panel, Users and Groups, Groups.  Click on Create Single Group, Manual Enroll.  Name the Group (RCW) and at 4. Membership, add all the RCW Students to the RCW group.  Click on Submit.  Repeat for the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Group.

ADAPTIVE Release:  Where you have loaded your two syllabi (or assignments, or tests, or whatever), click on the down chevrons next to the RCW Syllabus and choose Adaptive Release.  Under 2. Membership, Course Groups, move the RCW Group into the Selected Items and click on Submit.  Repeat for the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Syllabus.

GRADING CENTER:  In the Full Grade Center, choose Manage, Smart Views. Create a Smart View for Each Group, and click on Favorites.  This will enable you to choose just one group at a time to view in the Grade Center.

NOTE: If you want to see what a group can see/do, click on Student Preview, then Exit the Preview and choose the setting “Keep the Preview User and All Data.” Go to Users and Groups, Groups and put your username_previewuser into a Group. When you re-enter the Student Preview, you will be able to see what the students in that Group can see.

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13. Customization

13.1 Enrollment Options

This is where you set up the course if you are letting students self-enroll.

13.2 Guest and Observer Access

Guests can monitor the content of a course but cannot contribute to the Discussions, Blogs, Journals or Wikis and cannot take Tests or submit Assignments.

To set up an Observer for a student, you will need to contact the Blackboard Administrator. If an Observer is established, a faculty member can run an Early Warning System alert for their course, and notify the student and/or the Observer of a potential issue.

The way Blackboard works is an Observer cannot have another role in Blackboard, so a faculty member cannot use the same user id to be both faculty member AND observer. They can, however, have the same email address for their Observer ID.

13.3 Properties

To make your course AVAILABLE to students, go into the Properties Screen and change Make Course Available to Yes. You can also change the NAME of your course here.

13.4 Teaching Style

You can change your colors, your course headings to buttons, your home page entry point, your course banner etc.

13.5 Tool Availability

If you have given the students a Tool Link but you don’t want them to see all the tools (for example, Wimba Pronto and Messages don’t work so you get an error message) you can hide the ones that might be confusing or that you are not using in your course.

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14. Packages & Utilities

14.1 Course Copy

14.1.1 Copying the ENTIRE Course for the FIRST TIME

You must be an instructor in both courses.

Begin at the course you wish to copy FROM.

In the Control Panel, click Packages & Utilities. Click Copy Course

Under Select Copy Type make sure it says “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course”

Browse for the Destination Course ID of the new course that has been made for you and that you will be using with new students in the next semester.

Select all the parts of the course you want to copy (Content, Discussion Board, Grade Center Columns and Settings, etc)

If you are copying the ENTIRE course for the first time, make sure you copy the Grade Center, so that your Assignments, Tests, Surveys etc will deploy properly.

Click Submit

You will get an email confirmation that it worked. Wait a few minutes following the copy as sometimes you get the email before the copy has actually finished.

Assess the integrity of your course. Tidy up the menu items if necessary. Is it all there? Does it work? Any problems, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

Don’t forget to make your Course available to students:

Under the Control Panel, Click on Customization, then Properties. At 3. Make Course Available click on Yes. Then click on Submit.

Remember what your students can see:

Your students CANNOT see the Control Panel at all. Other than that, they see what you see when you click the Edit Mode Switch to OFF.

They will not see most CONTENT areas if there is nothing in them!

To really see what your students see:

Add a test student, as described in Section 9.1

If you are copying new content into an existing course with Grade Center items, do NOT copy the Grade Center again or you will get duplicate columns that will confuse both you and your students. Follow this procedure instead:

14.1.2 Copying a Content Item

If you wish to copy a content item into another course, then you would click the chevron next to it and copy that item to the new course by choosing copy and then picking the destination course out of the list. Choose the folder to put the new Content Item in.

14.1.3 Copying an Assignment or Discussion

There is no tidy way in our current Blackboard to copy an Assignment or Discussion with its associated grade column from one course to another. If you try you will end up with duplicate assignments, discussions and columns in the gradebook so if you are not copying the entire course then it is just simpler to re-create the Assignment or Discussion in the new course.

14.1.4 Copying a new Test

  1. Find the test you wish to copy and click the little chevron next to it
  2. Choose Export
  3. Save to your PC in a file where you can easily find it again.
  4. Go into your the course you wish to copy TO
  5. Now go to control panel > course tools > test pools and surveys
  6. Click the Import Test button at the top
  7. Find the export file you just saved (Browse My Computer) and import it
  8. Deploy the test, which will add a column to the Grade Book. You deploy a test from a Content Area, with Create Assessment, Test. See Section 7.2.1

14.1.5 Copying a Test if you built your test from a Test Pool

(This is different because you need to copy the Pool as well)

  1. From the “Copy From” Course, in the Control Panel, click Packages & Utilities and Course Copy. Choose the Tests, Surveys and Pools area to copy into the “Copy To” course. Do NOT copy the Grade Center.
  2. Give the copy a few minutes to finish.
  3. Go into your new course
  4. Deploy the test
  5. Now that the test is deployed it has created a grade center column for that test.

You will possibly end up with duplicate tests using this method, because Blackboard will copy all the Tests again, not just your new one. These will need to be tidied up by clicking on the down chevron next to one of the copies and deleting it.

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14.2 Export/Archive Course

Export will make a copy of the course in a .zip file without the user data which you can keep locally in case you need it later.

  1. Go to Control Panel, Packages and Utilities
  2. Click on Export/Archive Course.  Export
  3. Click on Export Package and then click in all the little boxes or click on Select All.
  4. Make sure you click on all the Content areas that you want, the Grade Center Columns and Settings  if you are saving any Assessments (Assignments or Tests)  and Tests, Surveys and Pools if you are saving any tests or quizzes.  Click on Submit.  You will get a message that says “The operation has completed. The file may be downloaded from the Control Panel.”
  5. Wait a few minutes.  Then go to the Export/Archive Course page again.  You will see a file name that starts with ExportFile and ends with .zip
  6. Click on this file and OPEN to SAVE or COPY it to a safe place where you can find it again later.  YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS FILE, IT IS IN A FORMAT FOR RE-IMPORTING TO BLACKBOARD ONLY.  This safe place may be your U: Drive, your C: Drive, an external Flash Drive, your Google Docs or Google Drive, or a Digital Dropbox.   In Chrome, when you click on Open, the .zip file will go to your Downloads Folder:
    In Firefox, when you click on Open, you will be asked whether to Save or Open the file.  Choose Save the File.  The file will be saved in your Downloads Folder.
    In Internet Explorer, when you click on Open, you will be asked whether to Open or Save the file.  Click on the down triangle next to Save and choose Save As.  I/E will ask you where you want to save it.
    If the file was Saved into your Downloads Folder, copy the file to a safe place.If you are using a MAC,  the default settings in both Safari and Firefox on the Mac may automatically ‘open’ or unpackage these .zip files.  This behavior can be changed in the browser: Safari | Preferences | General — UNCHECK the “Open ‘Safe Files’ after downloading” option – this allows the browser to download the .zip file archive intact. There is a similar setting to change in Firefox on the Mac.
  7. Do NOT double click on the .zip file, that might expand it and it needs to stay zipped so it can be Imported later.
  8. To Import this course into your new blank course shell the next time you teach it, follow the directions here:


14.3 Import Course CartridgE

If you have been given a Blackboard course cartridge code by your textbook supplier, you can enter that code under Control Panel, Packages and Utilities, Import Course Cartridge, type in the Cartridge Code and click on Submit to upload the package.

14.4 Import Package / View Logs

If you have previously Exported course documents and saved them outside of Blackboard, you can import them here.  You also use Import Package to upload a course cartridge which comes with your textbook if you have been given a link to a a website that downloads that cartridge or have been sent a file.

In the course in which you want to import content, click on Control Panel, Packages and Utilities, Import Package / View Logs.  Click on Import Package.  Browse for the .zip file that holds the content you wish to import.  Click on the boxes to the left of each item you wish to import and click on Submit.

NOTE!  If you import the Grade Center more than once you may end up with Duplicate columns.

15.  Help

The Help documentation in Blackboard is extensive, and a good place to lean about additional features. Other resources are the Blackboard Student Orientation Course, which is a self-register course. To register, go to your Courses Tab, and type BB101 into Course Search. Click on the Down Chevrons next to BB101SP2012 and choose Enroll, then click on Submit.

The BB_102 Course has many useful tutorials for Faculty members. If you are not registered for BB_102, and you would like to be, please email you Blackboard Systems Administrator or help@marybaldwin.edu

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16. Notifications

Notifications are sent in an overnight “digest” – a summary of the daily activity in Blackboard.

A student or professor can turn OFF notifications for each class they are enrolled in, and then they won’t get the Overnight Digest emails.

To do this, Click on My Places and click on Edit Notification Settings.

Then click on each course and in the little box at the top left click on the On/Off button so that all the boxes below are Unclicked. Then click on Submit.

If, when a professor creates an announcement in their course, they click on Override User Notification Settings, Blackboard will send an email to the student even if they have set their Notificaiton Settings to NOT receive the overnight

17 Blackboard Buddies

The following people have volunteered to help with Blackboard questions. Please take advantage of their experience!

  • Abby Wightman
  • Laura van Assendelft
  • Bob Klonoski
  • Kathy McCleaf
  • Chandra Mason
  • Kathryn Turner
  • Joe Sprangel
  • Amy Diduch

If you are willing to be a Blackboard Buddy, please contact Beverly at briddell@marybaldwin.edu and let her know! Thank you.


Discussion Board Rubric:

Discussion Board Participation – Grading Rubric

Grade Expectation

Exceptional for collegiate-level work

Remarks are well written and argued effectively, above the level normally expected of college students.The student visits the discussion board 3 – 4 times per week, reads the discussion posts and responds to the postings of his or her fellow students. The student engages collaboratively with others, interacting intelligently and thoughtfully, supplementing existing posts with additional new and relevant material (properly cited). The student may challenge existing posts and ask probing questions.Personal experiences, if used, are concise and on topic and are used only to make a significant contribution to the course and the material covered in the session.

Above average for collegiate-level work

Remarks are at or above the collegiate level in writing and argument.The student visits the discussion board 2 – 3 times per week, reads the discussion posts and responds to the postings of his or her fellow students. Most interactions are collaborative and advance the conversation; they are thought provoking and motivate responses from others.Responses to existing posts are well-articulated and demonstrate an understanding of course concepts.Personal experiences, if used, are generally relevant and make a contribution to the class understanding of the course material.

Average participation for collegiate-level work

Remarks, in general, are at the collegiate level in writing and argument.The student visits the discussion board at least once per week and contributes to the dialogue. Interactions with others, however, are generally one-way and do not lead to probing thought; they seldom advance a conversation.Personal experiences, if used, are only marginally relevant and make little contribution to the class understanding of the course material.

Below-average participation

Remarks are poorly written and/or argued.The student visits the discussion board 0 – 1 times per week, or inconsistently throughout the semester. Contributions are rarely interactive or engaging and do not advance the conversation.Personal experiences, if used, are not generally relevant to the course material and do not contribute to the discussion of the course material.

Unacceptable level and quality of participation

Little or no participation; remarks, when written, do not advance the conversation.The student visits the discussion board less than once every other week and makes little or no meaningful contribution to the dialogue.Personal experiences, if used, are irrelevant to the course material and make no meaningful contribution to the class dialogue.




Test Generator

Pool Generator

Drop Lowest Grade

Weighted Grades