Winthrop University uses Blackboard for its course management system. (You may log into Blackboard here.) Blackboard is a great tool for faculty who wish to integrate online course management components into their courses. Blackboard is a powerful, easy-to-use software package for designing, delivering and maintaining online course information. The software is accessible to anyone in the world who has an Internet connection and an account provided by Winthrop University.
Blackboard can be used as a supplement to traditional courses for posting course documents, posting/receiving assignments, etc. Blackboard can also be used for the delivery of hybrid and fully online courses. Here are just a few things that are built into Blackboard:
- 17 question types to choose from for assessments
- Drag and drop functionality
- Enhanced grading workflow, an assessment manager, and learning modules for course organization
- Exciting new social learning and teaching tools such as wiki's, blogs, and journals
News and Updates
Important Blackboard Update
- Blackboard is now integrated with Banner. With this new integration, you will have more up-to-date information regarding the student enrollment within your Blackboard courses. You are also empowered to be in control of your own Blackboard content.
- There are several changes that come along with the integration that you should be aware of:
- New/Blank courses will be created each semester: The integration will automatically create new/blank Blackboard courses for you each semester. When you are viewing your course listing on Blackboard, you will notice that the course title will begin with a string of numbers that consists of the course number, section, year, and term. Courses ending in 201380 are fall 2013 courses. The fall 2013 Blackboard courses have already been populated for you and are the ones that you will want to use for fall.
- Courses will be unavailable to students until you have opened them: Your students are now automatically populated into your Blackboard courses at the time your courses are created. The courses are unavailable to the students until you have made them available. Instructions are attached containing 5 simple steps on how to make a Blackboard course available to your students.
- Blackboard course rosters will automatically update for you four times per day: The integration will automatically update your Blackboard rosters at 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 6pm each day to reflect the latest drop/add activity.
- The option for faculty to manually add and drop students to/from their Blackboard rosters has been removed: Since the Blackboard course rosters will automatically update for you four times per day to reflect the latest drop/add activity, the option to manually add and drop students to/from your Blackboard rosters has been removed. Please contact the Office of Online Learning at x2212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any special circumstances surrounding your Blackboard rosters.
- Courses will be disabled after the semester has ended: After the semester has ended, both instructors and students will be removed from the courses that have ended that semester. However, a grace period has been established that will allow you some time after the semester has ended to continue to use those courses. After which, the courses will disappear from your My Courses area of Blackboard.
- Before your courses become disabled, Blackboard shells for your upcoming courses will be created, and you will be able to copy your course content into those new shells or export your courses to a local drive for use in a future academic year: Before your courses from the prior semester disappear, the office of Online Learning will provide training on how to copy your course content from the course that is ending to the new semester’s course shell. We will offer training sessions for you to learn how to do this at the end of every semester. Beginning at the close of the fall 2013 semester, faculty will be responsible for copying their Blackboard course content forward to the next semester’s Blackboard course or for exporting their Blackboard courses to a local drive for use in a future academic year.
- Make it a practice to download your grade center into Excel at the end of each semester: We recommend that you download your grade center data into an Excel spreadsheet at the close of each semester. The office of Online Learning will continue to maintain archives of course grade center data, however we ask that you make it a best practice to download a backup of your grade center for all courses, so that you have your own personal backup. Training sessions will be available on an ongoing basis on how to download your grade center data into an Excel spreadsheet.
Information will be coming regarding the Blackboard training schedule for the fall semester and instructional materials will also be posted on the Blackboard web site at http://www.winthrop.edu/blackboard/.