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Online Learning

Blackboard News and Information

Winthrop University uses Blackboard for its learning management system. (You may log into Blackboard here.) 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, managing grades, and communicating via email and announcements. Blackboard can also be used to create and deliver web-enhanced, hybrid, and fully online courses. Here are just a few things that are built into Blackboard:

  • Turnitin and SafeAssign assignment integration for plagiarism detection
  • Lockdown Browser functionality for creating secure online tests
  • Enhanced grading workflow, a date management tool, and learning modules for course organization
  • Social learning and teaching tools such as wikis, blogs, journals, discussion board, and web conferencing

Master Course Requests

The Blackboard Course Usage form can be used to request a master course to have multiple sections of courses that you are teaching merged into one Blackboard shell. The form is accessible via Wingspan on your Faculty Services Tab. Please complete this form each semester to request one or more master courses. Master courses will generally be created within three business days.

Course Creation and Roster Updates

  1. Blackboard is integrated with Banner. With this 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.
  2. There are several items pertaining to the integration that faculty 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. The term is indicated by 80 for fall, 50 for summer, and 10 for spring.
    • 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 for how to make your courses available can be found on the Training and Resources page.
    • Blackboard course rosters will automatically update for you three times per day: The integration will automatically update your Blackboard rosters at 11am, 3pm, and 6:30pm 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 three 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 blackboard@winthrop.edu regarding any special circumstances surrounding your Blackboard rosters.

End of Semester Course Maintenance Tasks

  1. 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. Instructions for how to download your grade center data into an Excel spreadsheet are available on the Training and Resources page.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Instructions for how to copy or export courses is available on the Training and Resources page.

Training and Instructional Resources

Information regarding training sessions for the current semester and instructional resources are available on the Online Learning Faculty Training web page. 

More news available in the news archive

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