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…

GROUP BY TERM

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.

 

HIDE INDIVIDUAL COURSES

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:

CourseList-5-HideIndiv

 

REORDER COURSES (OR TERMS)

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

 

SUBMIT

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

Submit button

 

REPEAT ON COURSES TAB

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!  🙂

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Announcing: Sidekick – Free tools for CA Community Colleges

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is dedicated to providing resources to help our California Community College instructors. 

Although many of these individual services have been available before, the Chancellor’s Office has released a one-stop resource site that combines seven free resources.  You can utilize these free tools to build and enhance the web components of your classes!

Introducing…

Sidekick — Tools That Inspire
Click the link for descriptions, introductory videos, and website links for each tool.

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.

iPhone

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.

Yahoo

  1. Go to calendar.yahoo.com
  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

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 calendar.live.com.
  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!  🙂

What’s New in Blackboard in Service Pack 10

The following features, new to Blackboard in Service Pack 10, are available now!

My Blackboard

My Blackboard displays important information from all courses in one centralized location.  This makes it easy for you and your students to quickly become aware of updates and new activity in your courses.

My Blackboard also includes a streamlined and stylized version of My Grades, for students.

View a video overview of My Blackboard.

Calendar

The Calendar has been modernized in style and function.

It now automatically reflects any due dates (but not display after/until dates) that you add to tests/assignments/grade center columns!  Editing entries is as easy as clicking them to change their information, or just clicking and dragging them to a different date!  And due dates changed from within the calendar will also be updated in their corresponding test/assignment/grade center column.

The calendar can also synchronize with your Outlook/iCal/Google Calendar.  Scroll down to look for the “Get External Calendar Link” button in the lower left corner.

View a video overview of the new Calendar.

Text Editor

The Text Editor appears to you and your students, in many areas throughout the Blackboard course.

With this update, you can now copy/paste directly from Microsoft Word (without risking faulty coding).  There is a full-screen view, and also a convenient word count in the lower right corner.

Hint: Click the “i” icon in the upper right of the text editor menu to view a legend of all icon functions.

View a video overview of the new Text Editor.

Item Analysis on Tests

Item Analysis provides statistics on student test performance, to help you recognize questions that could be improved, or may have been scored incorrectly.

Questions are marked as poor discriminators when students who generally performed well on the test chose the incorrect answer for the question.  Question difficulty is determined by the percentage of students who answered the question correctly.

Questions that may need review due to poor discrimination and/or difficulty are indicated with red dots.  The test questions can be adjusted from within the Item Analysis area, and the student attempts will be automatically regraded, based on any changes made.

View a video overview of Item Analysis.

For more information, please visit Running Item Analysis on a Test, on Blackboard’s Help Site.

My Messages: Message Notifications from ALL your courses in ONE place!

Have you ever been frustrated by having to enter each course and click the Messages tool, just to see if you have any new mail from students?  We’ve got a module for that!

The My Messages module displays how many unread messages exist within your courses, and provides a direct link to the Messages area of each course!

My Messages Module

Want to add this to your Blackboard account? Here’s how:

1. Log into Blackboard. On your “My Institution” tab, click “Add Module”.

Add Module button

2. Locate “My Messages” and click “+ Add”.

Add module button

3. Click the “My Institution” tab to return.

click the My Institution tab

4. The module will likely appear underneath your My Courses module, but may appear elsewhere.  Scroll down, and look around the page to find it.

You may click-and-drag the module’s green title bar, to move the My Messages module anywhere on the page.

My Messages module above My Courses module on the Blackboard My Institution page

Once you have added and placed this module, you will always know when you have new messages from students, without having to go through each course just to check!

New Building Block Features Available!

There are two new features available to you in Blackboard Learn, which were added as building blocks this past Friday:

1.  Student View

You now have the ability to view your course with a student view mode that is more accurate than the one you get by switching Edit Mode OFF.

To initiate the Student View, click Course Tools from the Control Panel and then click Student View:

Course Tools and Student View

When you’re ready to exit the student view, click the Teacher View link, which will appear at the bottom of your course menu:

Teacher View link on Course Menu

2. Groups Viewer

If you are utilizing groups in your course, this feature makes it easy to see which of your students have been assigned to which groups!

To access the Groups Viewer, click Course Tools from the Control Panel and then click Groups Viewer:

Course Tools and Groups Viewer

You will see a list of all your students, with their corresponding groups indicated on the right side:

List of student names and corresponding group numbers

You will also have two buttons at the bottom of the list, which allow you to either Print the list, or Download it as a spreadsheet file!

We hope that these two building blocks will improve and streamline your teaching experience in Blackboard Learn.