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Advanced Blackboard Features

Course Files

Course Files is a file storage system in Blackboard 9 that works much like your My Documents folder on your computer. You can place any number of documents in Course Files, organize them into folders and save them until you need them. Then, when you want to share the documents with your students, you can create items from your Course Files folders rather than having to have the document on your computer or USB drive. Just think of it as a giant, online "G drive" for your Blackboard course.

Basic Course File Upload

  • First, in the Control Panel menu area, click Files to get started, then click your Course ID. This will take you to your course's Course Files area where you can upload, download and organize your documents.
  • Hover over the Upload button and you will see Upload Files and Upload Package. Upload Files is where you can upload several files at once, and Upload Package is for zipped folders of files. Select Upload Files for the simple upload, but feel free to try Upload Package if you know how to create zipped folders of files.
  • On the Upload Files page you will see that there is a box where you can drag your files from your computer into the box and they will upload automatically. This box requires a plug-in that Blackboard may prompt you to install, so if you are having trouble, you can still click the Browse button and select multiple files or entire folders to upload. When your files are selected, just hit Submit to upload them all at once.

Your files will be bulk uploaded into your Course Files, but if you would like to be more organized, you can also create folders within your Course Files area to keep things separated and labeled. 

Create Folders

  • On the main screen of Course Files, just click Create Folder to make a folder within your Course Files.
  • To put documents inside the folder just click the name of the folder and proceed as you would usually to upload your files.
  • If you want to move something you have already uploaded, you can select the file or files you want to move and use the Copy or Move buttons.

Now, once you've uploaded your documents, you can go into the Content Areas where you want your students to access them and create the links to the documents there. 

Deploy Uploaded Content

  • Select the Content Area (e.g. Course Information) where you want to put your document or other files.
  • Hover over Build Content and select Item, File, Audio, Image or Video according to the type of file you are going to link to, just like you would if you were going to manually upload a file.
  • Now, in the section where you would normally Browse My Computer for the file, you can select Browse Course Files to find the file or files you already uploaded.
  • Make sure you hit Submit when you have selected all the files you would like to link to!

Course File Uploading using a Web Folder

Web folders are folders on your computer that are linked to a folder that exists on the internet. You can drag and drop files in and out of these folders and both the folder on your computer and the folder on the internet will reflect the changes.

  • First go into your Course Files and select Setup Web Folder at the top right hand side of the page. This page has the step by step instructions that I'm going to go over with you as well as the Web Address to your Blackboard Course Files in the yellow box at the top of the page. Note: If you are using a Mac, you can follow the instructions on this page to set up your Web Folder.

Now from here, you need to go to your My Network Places folder on your computer. This folder will be on different places on different versions of Windows, so you may have to look around. 

  • On Windows XP, you can find the folder by selecting Start and My Network Places will appear in the menu on the right.
  • In the My Network Places folder, select Add a Network Place from the Network Tasks list to the left. A wizard will pop up to help you through the process.
  • Click Next to begin the wizard.
  • On the next page, select Choose another network location and then Next.
  • On the following page the wizard will ask you for the address of your network place. Go back to your Blackboard course and copy the entire web address from the yellow box at the top of the page. It should be labeled "Current Web Address:https://blackboard.american.edu:123/bbcswebdav/courses/YOURCOURSEID".
  • Paste this address into the text box in the wizard window.
  • When you click Next a login page will appear asking for your Blackboard username and password.
  • Type in your username and password just as you would when you log in to Blackboard or my.american.edu.
  • Click OK to login.
  • On the following page you can name your new network place. I suggest calling it the same as the course to which its referring so that you can keep things simple.
  • Click Next and then Finish to create your Blackboard Web Folder.

The Web Folder works just like any other folder on your computer, except that when you open it, it will always show the files and documents that are in your Blackboard course, exactly as they appear in Course Files. You can drag, drop, copy and paste files here just like any other folder on your computer, and your Course Files folder will reflect the changes you make in real time.

Once you set up your Web Folder, you'll never have to manually upload another file to your Blackboard Course. Just upload the documents ahead of time and when you need to post them for your students, just link to the documents and files you uploaded before.

We've created a podcast on Course Files that you can watch here.

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Groups

Groups in Blackboard 9 make it easier for your students to communicate and collaborate on projects. To create Groups for your students, select Users and Groups from the Course Management panel and select Groups.

  • Select Create Single Group if you would like to create the groups individually or Create Group Set if you just like to create a specific number of groups at once.
  • Choose whether you would like for students to Self-Enroll or whether you would like to Manually Enroll them in the groups.
  • Create a Group Name
  • Choose the Tools you would like to be available to the groups. Note: These tools will be specific to each group, so they will have group blogs, discussion boards, file exchanges and journals if they like.
  • Click Submit to create the groups
  • On the next page you can select the students you would like to be in each group
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Assignments

In Blackboard 9, the Digital Dropbox feature has been eliminated. Instead, you can use Assignments to have your students submit their work online rather than having to turn in paper copies in class or email in an assignment. This cuts down on paper waste, and keeps your inbox from getting cluttered with paper submissions that could get lost. Assignments are linked to the Grade Center, so when a student turns in their assignment, the file is collected in the Grade Center for you to download individually, or all at once.

Create an Assignment

  • Click into a Content Area (e.g. Information or Content)
  • At the top of the Content Area, hover over the Create Assessment button,then click Assignment.
  • Type in the name of the Assignment in the box provided. Remember, the name of the Assignment is also the name of the assignment’s column in the Grade Center.
  • In Section 3: Grading you need to decide whether the assignment is going to be graded as a Letter/Percentage or on point values. If it will be a Letter or Percentage, type 100. If you are grading on points, type the number of points possible in the assignment (e.g. 25).
  • Select the due date and time in Section 5: Due Dates.

In Assignments there is the option to create Group Assignments (e.g. Group papers where only one of the students from the group will be submitting the paper). You can create a Group Assignment by selecting Groups of Students in Section 6: Recipients section. Remember, you will need to create Groups before creating Group Assignments.

  • Select Submit to create the Assignment. Remember, when you create the Assignment in the Content Area, a corresponding column is created in the Grade Center, so you don’t have to create the Assignment twice.

Students can now go to the Assignment and click View/Complete Assignment to submit their homework or exams. To view Students’ submitted assignments once students have completed the assignment, you can go to the Grade Center to view their Attempts.

View Submitted Attempts

  • Select Grade Center then Assignments. Note:The Assignment will be listed under the name you gave it when you created it initially.
  • A green exclamation mark will appear next to each student’s name that has completed the assignment.
  • You can download the attempts individually by selecting the Menu Arrow next to the student’s Attempt and selecting Attempt mm/dd/yy. The submitted file will be listed in the attempt and you can click on the link to download it.

Bulk Download

  • If you would like to download all the Attempts at once, select the Menu Arrow at the top of the Assignment column and select Assignment File Download.
  • On the next page you can select the individual attempts to download, or click the box at the very top of the list to select all the users.
  • Click Submit and Blackboard will create a combined file for you to download on the next page.
  • Click the link provided to download the assignment files.

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CTRL Training

Want to learn more about Blackboard 9? Come to one of our training sessions on campus. Check out training dates and sign-up on our training calendar.

The Blackboard Support Team is also conducting online webinars. Check back here for a list of dates and times that you can join us online.