Blackboard Lunch & Learn Sessions this Fall

Want to learn how to use Blackboard or brush up on your skills?
Have an hour free at lunchtime on a Friday?

On select Fridays this Fall, join us in LRC 250 for a hosted pizza lunch and Blackboard demonstration.

Please RSVP through this link to help us plan the lunches.

Lunch and Learn Flier Image

Download the Lunch & Learn PDF Flier

Create & Add a Banner to Your Course

Want to give your class entry page some pizzazz?  Add a banner!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, no special software is necessary…


PART 1: Create Your Banner

The following is a short tutorial for a free, easy to use banner-creation website I found.

Click to visit the Banner Fans website.

On the Layout tab, start by selecting a banner size.  I like their “Etsy shop banner” preset:

Preset - Etsy shop banner

Next, select your background type.  You can choose a solid color, or upload an image, but the gradient provides a nice touch.  Select your colors (by clicking on each color box to open a color palette) and your gradient mode:

color and gradient options

Click the Update my banner button underneath the options, to preview the changes on the banner above:

Update Banner button

Click the Texts & Fonts tab, enter text for your banner, and click to select the font, size, and color:

text and font options

When you selecting a font, you can browse different styles of fonts by using the links at the top:

different font types

After you click Update my banner to preview your changes, you may need to move your text around.  Roll your mouse over the text on the sample banner, and click-and-drag the text to the location of your choice:

moving the text on the banner by clicking and dragging

You can select the Border tab, to add a border of your choice, and select its color:

adding a border and selecting the border color

Click Update my banner again, to preview all changes:

finished banner

When it looks how you want it to, click the Download Banner button:

download banner button

And save the banner to your computer:

save banner to your computer

PART 2: Upload to Blackboard

Enter your Blackboard class.  From the Control Panel, click Customization –> Teaching Style:

Control panel with customization expanded and teaching style selected

Select your Course Entry Point – the default homepage when your students enter the class, where your banner will be displayed:

select a course entry point

Locate “Select Banner.”  To upload your banner, click Browse My Computer:

click the Browse My Computer button

Locate and select the banner file you downloaded from the website, and confirm:

select file and confirm

Click Submit:

submit button

Your banner will now be displayed in your course, on your default entry page:

banner displayed in course

Note:  Any pixelation you see in these images is from my screen-captures, NOT from the banner made by Banner Fans.

Overwhelmed by Your Blackboard Course List? Hide Old Courses You No Longer Need!

When you log into Blackboard, you’ll see all the courses for which you are enrolled as an instructor.  If you’ve been teaching for multiple semesters, this list can get unwieldy and overwhelming!

My Institution - Course List

Good news!  You can hide old courses from the list.  Here’s how…


Roll your mouse cursor over the My Courses title bar, and click the gear icon that appears:

Manage My Courses Button

Next, select Group by Term:

Checkmark next to Group by Term

Using the term dates as a guideline, click to un-checkmark those terms you no longer need to see:

This will hide whole semesters at a time from your course list!

Note: these courses are only hidden (NOT deleted), and you can return to re-checkmark/view them again at any time.



If there are courses on your list not assigned to a term, you may hide them individually by scrolling down and clicking to un-check the course under the Course Name column:




You also have the option to reorder courses (or terms), by rolling your mouse cursor over any course (or term), clicking and holding the arrow at left, and dragging the course (or term) up or down:

Course list with arrow for rearranging



Click Submit to solidify all your changes for this channel (see below for “Courses” Tab):

Submit button



Unfortunately, the “My Courses” channel on the My Institution tab and the “Course List” channel on the Courses tab are not synced.

To avoid confusion, click Courses from the top menu, and repeat this process with the Course List:

Courses link in top menu

Now you’re all set to enjoy a cleaner, simpler course list!  🙂

OCC Training – Available to All Coast Campuses

Eric Wilson, IT Facilitator and Trainer at OCC, has announced his workshops for Winter and Spring 2015, and he is inviting faculty from all Coast campuses to attend.

View the full Schedule of OCC Training Opportunities.

RSVP is required. Please fill out the RSVP form once for each training you wish to attend.

Most of the trainings are virtual workshops, so you can take the workshop from your office, home, or anywhere with a computer, phone, and internet connection.  However, there are two special on campus workshops scheduled:

– Hosting a Virtual Office, Meeting or Class for Dummies
– Why iClick the Class?

Blackboard Workshop: Upload & Organize

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2:30 to 4:30 pm

GWC: Humanities 212

Your course documents on a flash drive

Join us this Thursday and learn how to:

  • Log into Blackboard & find your class
  • Post course documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Create links to content on the web
  • Organize your documents in folders
  • Move/copy items to other areas in the course
  • And more!

This workshop will be hands-on in a computer lab.
Please bring your course documents on a flash drive, so you can upload as you learn!  🙂

Blackboard Calendar Can Be Pushed to Outlook, Google, or iPhone Calendars

Blackboard calendar events can be pushed out to third party calendars (examples: Outlook and Google) through an iCalendar feed. Once the iCalendar feed is set up on a third party calendar, updates to events are automatically reflected on the third party calendar.

Blackboard Learn’s iCalendar feed’s refresh time is 4 hours, but the actual refresh rate will depend on the third party calendar being used. (Google, for example, checks more often than Outlook.)

Obtain iCalendar Feed Link

1. Click the My Blackboard menu:

My Blackboard Menu

2. Click the calendar icon:

Calendar Icon on My Blackboard Menu

3. Below the list of calendars click the button “Get External Calendar link”:

Get External Link Calendar Button

PLEASE NOTE:  This calendar link is unique to your account.  Do not share the link with others.  You can guide them to find/copy their own external calendar link.

4. Copy the URL with the .ics extension to use in the following integration instructions, provided by Blackboard.

Google Calendar

  1. Click the down-arrow next to Other calendars
  2. Select Add by URL from the menu
  3. Enter the Blackboard Learn iCalendar URL in the field provided
  4. Click the Add Calendar button. The calendar will appear in the Other Calendars section of the calendar list to the left.

Microsoft Outlook

  1. In Account Settings choose the Internet Calendars tab.
  2. Click on New and Paste the iCalendar URL you copied from Blackboard Learn into the location and click Add.


Option 1

  1. Select “Settings
  2. Select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Select “Add Account…” under “Accounts
  4. Select “Other” at the bottom
  5. Select “Add Subscribed Calendar
  6. Type the iCalendar URL. Select “Next”.

Option 2

  1. Mail the iCalendar URL ending in .ics to the email account set up on your iPhone.
  2. Open the email on your phone and click the URL.
  3. iPhone recognizes the .ics extension as a calendar and prompts you to subscribe. Choose yes.

Mac iCal

  1. Open iCal
  2. From the Calendar menu, choose Subscribe
  3. Next, enter the iCalendar URL from Blackboard Learn into the field Calendar URL
  4. Click Subscribe.


  1. Go to
  2. Click + icon next to Subscribed.
  3. Choose Subscribe to other calendars.
  4. Enter the iCalendar URL from Blackboard Learn in ical address and enter a display name.

Additional notes – Yahoo cannot subscribe to the URL if the server IP address is specified instead of the server name.


Android does not provide an option to directly There is no direct way to subscribe to an .ics feed in Android yet. The workaround is to subscribe to the feed through Google Calendar.

  1. Subscribe to the Blackboard Learn calendar in Google. using the steps described in the section for ‘Google’ above.
  2. Go to the Android phone
  3. Applications -> Calendar
  4. Menu -> More -> Settings
  5. Calendars
  6. View the Blackboard Learn calendar you subscribed to in Google.

Windows Live

  1. Go to
  2. Click on subscribe
  3. Choose Subscribe to a public calendar
  4. Paste the iCalendar URL in Calendar URL.
  5. Enter a Calendar Name.
  6. Click ‘Subscribe to Calendar‘ button.

“Collect” Feature in Discussions

Have you ever wanted an easy way to view all replies to a Discussion thread,
without having to click through each one individually?

In Blackboard Learn, the “Collect” feature provides just that!

Enter any Discussion Forum.  To the right of any thread title, click the action menu:

Action menu to the right of thread title link

Then select Collect:

Collect option on the action menu

You will receive an aggregated view of the entire thread, from the original post (at the bottom) to the latest reply (at the top):

all thread posts and replies displayed on one page

You can also use the buttons in the upper left to sort the posts by Author, Subject line, or Thread Order, either Ascending or Descending.

I hope this makes your life (or at least your discussion thread experience) a little easier!  🙂