Office of Information Technology

Blackboard


Blackboard is a Web-based software application providing online e-learning support for most classes at AU. Each semester, courses use Blackboard to share documents, such as syllabi and assignments, course communications (including a discussion board), private e-mails and chats for course members, and, in some instances, online surveys and exams.

 

Logging in to Blackboard

Blackboard can be found on the myAU.american.edu portal, under the BLACKBOARD link, or at blackboard.american.edu. Select LOGIN and enter your USER NAME and PASSWORD. Blackboard requires a separate log-in from the portal, but your user name and password should be the same.

If you can log on to myAU.american.edu but have trouble accessing Blackboard, go to the TECHNOLOGY section and click the SYNCHRONIZE PASSWORDS link. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. Within 10-15 minutes, your passwords should all be the same.

 

Blackboard Information for Students

If your professor uses Blackboard, your name will be added to the list of students registered to access that online course. The course will then appear on your COURSES tab.

If you have problems accessing your Blackboard account or need to be added to another course, contact the IT Help Desk for assistance at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp. Refer to the University Library's Blackboard Information page for an explanation of Blackboard's features.

Important: Incoming students must create their computing accounts before they can access their Blackboard courses. You can create your account through the self-service page at myAU.american.edu/accounts. You will see a link to a course only if your professor has decided to use Blackboard to complement your classroom experience.

 

Searching Blackboard for Syllabi

You can use Blackboard's built-in search function to review syllabi before you enroll in a class.

  1. Go to the Office of the Registrar's Web page. 
  2. Click the SCHEDULE OF CLASSES link. Select the appropriate semester for the course(s) you are seeking. Build a list of courses that you would like to examine in Blackboard. (To save time, you can keep windows open in two browsers as you compare courses in the registrar's system and in Blackboard.) 
  3. Log in to blackboard.american.edu
  4. Click the COURSES tab and enter the course or instructor's name in the COURSE SEARCH area. 
  5. Find the appropriate course and click on the course name to access the course information. Locate the syllabus in either the COURSE DOCUMENTS or COURSE INFORMATION folders.

 

Blackboard Information for Faculty

Information about teaching with Blackboard is available on the University Library's Web site and by contacting the OIT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp.

 

Navigating in Blackboard

Once you log in, you will see the MY INSTITUTION tab, as well as a COURSES tab. If you are a current or former student, the MY INSTITUTION tab lists the courses you are enrolled in for the semester, or those in which you have been enrolled in the past. This area contains tools and information specific to your preferences. Tools and information are contained in modules, which you can add and remove from your MY INSTITUTION tab area. While you can choose which modules appear, the administrator may restrict access to or require specific modules.

The COURSES tab area lists courses specific to you as well as the online Course Catalog. You simply click on a course from the COURSES tab area to access the course Web site.

 

Adding and Removing Students from a Blackboard Course after Registration

Once a course has been created in Blackboard, changes to enrollment during late registration or during the drop-add period will be made automatically.

 

Uploading Files

Blackboard allows you to upload files, such as a class syllabus in Microsoft Word, a PowerPoint presentation, or an Adobe PDF file. To begin uploading files, click on the CONTROL PANEL button at the bottom left of the screen. You will then see a variety of options. Choose the COURSE DOCUMENTS link under the CONTENT AREAS category. Click the ADD ITEM button. Fill in the name of the item. You have the option to search for and attach any file type as you would when specifying an e-mail attachment. When you have selected the desired file, click the SUBMIT button to post the document for the class. A content receipt will appear indicating that you have successfully uploaded the document to your Blackboard Web site.

 

Creating Discussion Forums

Click the DISCUSSION BOARD button to the left of the screen and then click the ADD FORUM button. You will be prompted for the title and description of the topic to be discussed. Members of the class click the ADD NEW THREAD button to begin a comment for the discussion.

 

Creating Discussion Groups

If you have broken up a class into smaller groups to work on distinct projects, you may generate electronic groups to help students plan and exchange information for the project. To begin creating these groups, click the CONTROL PANEL button. You will see a variety of options. Choose the MANAGE GROUPS link under the USER MANAGEMENT category. Click the ADD GROUP button. Fill in the name of the group (it could be Group 1 or 2 or split up by topics, such as School Governance or School Finance) and click SUBMIT.

To add students to the group, find the group under MANAGE GROUPS and click MODIFY. Click the ADD USERS button. Select the LIST ALL tab to see the students enrolled in the course. From this list, you are able to select the students who should be members of the group you've created.

 

Using the Functions of the Control Panel

Click the CONTROL PANEL button to access the Instructor Control Panel.

The Instructor Control Panel comprises six function areas:

  • Content Areas provides the tools necessary to add text, files, and information into your course. 
  • Course Tools contains the communication tools for you to send e-mail, create tasks, and work with groups. 
  • Course Options contains security and customization options for advanced management of course components. 
  • User Management provides tools for you to manage users and enrollments. 
  • Assessment provides tools for building assessments, recording grades, and tracking user activity. 
  • Help offers support contacts and online documentation.

If you have problems accessing your Blackboard account or need to be added to another course, contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp. Refer to the University Library's Blackboard Information page for an explanation of Blackboard's features.

IMPORTANT: The University Library has developed a special Blackboard course to help faculty integrate virtual library resources into their Blackboard courses. Send an e-mail to reeves@american.edu to be added to the access list.