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Blackboard Logo

Blackboard is an online course management system available on www.cuny.edu. Nearly all of online and hybrid courses offered at Kingsborough use Blackboard as the main teaching/learning delivery tool. Blackboard is available for all courses offered at Kingsborough (not just online/hybrid courses), and we highly encourage all instructors to use the platform to enhance their teaching process.

Screenshot of "My Courses" located on the right side of the Blackboard homepageIf you do not have username/password to access your CUNYportal account, go to Registrar for New Account to claim your account. Once you have claimed your account, login and click on Blackboard under Applications/Resources to access your courses on Blackboard. Once you are on the Blackboard homepage, the courses you are assigned to teach on CUNYfirst system will appear under My Courses. (The courses will appear on Blackboard within 48hrs after they are assigned to you on CUNYfirst. If you are not assigned to your courses on CUNYfirst, please contact your department).

If you are new to Blackboard, view the following videos to get started:

1. LOGIN

Go to Blackboard portal page, and type in your username (your CUNYfirst username followed by “@login.cuny.edu”) and password (the same as your CUNYfirst password).

2. PERSONALIZE YOUR PROFILE

If you are planning to use Blackboard to communicate and engage with your students, it is highly recommended for you to upload an avatar to your account. An avatar is an image that can be used to represent you throughout the Blackboard system. It is a great way to personalize your engagement with others on Blackboard.

If you are planning to have your students talk to each other on Blackboard, you should also consider having your students add their avatars. If you are teaching enhanced, hybrid or fully-online class, most instructors will have their students upload their avatars as the first-week “ice-breaking” assignment.

You can also setup your email notifications and your profile information under Settings if you wish to change them.

3. ORGANIZE YOUR COURSE MATERIALS

Before you start working on your courses, figure out how Blackboard will be serving your course. What aspect of your class is Blackboard going to cover? This will depend greatly on your teaching materials and whether you are teaching face-to-face or partially/fully online class. If you have weekly activities, readings, or assignments designed for your class, determine how Blackboard can support it. Unless you are teaching a fully online class, not everything will need to be delivered online. You may use Blackboard simply to share reading materials, for facilitating discussions, or for conducting weekly quizzes. However you decide to integrate Blackboard into your teaching, be consistent in its use throughout the semester, which is a key to establishing a familiarity among the students. Having your course materials mapped out before working on Blackboard becomes essential in meeting this goal.

An example list of course materials
Figure out how Blackboard fits into your teaching method. Consider the differences in the nature of “in-class” and “online” environments. In the case above, what gets covered in-class and online are clearly listed, and where the activities intersect.

Make an appointment to visit KCeL with your course materials if you need help figuring out how Blackboard can be integrated into your instruction.

4. START WITH THE MENU LAYOUT

Once you have an idea of how Blackboard will be integrated into your class, you can start organizing the course-shell, starting with the menu bar (located on the top-left of each course-shell). By default, it contains multiple tools (i.e. “Discussions,” “Groups,” “See My Grades,” etc.) and content areas (i.e. “Course Information,” “Course Content,” “Course Documents,” and “Course Assignments”). You can start removing any of the tools and content areas that you will not be using in your class. Each item will have a button to its right that you can click on to Hide/Show, Rename, or Delete. The plus (“+”) button on the top of the menu will allow you to add new items in your menu. There are different types of items to choose from. Content area is  a basic empty space where you can upload files. When you are adding new times to the menu, make sure it’s the right type.

Tips:

  1. For most instructors, there will not be any use for “Homepage,” therefore you can delete it.
  2. Having “Course Content,” “Course Documents,” and “Course Assignments” is redundant, so you’d probably want to keep one to use and delete the other two.
  3. “Course Information” contains the Academic Integrity Policy that your students will need to review, so do not delete it. You can also add the course syllabus under “Course Information.”
  4. “Discussion Board” and “Groups” are tools for interactive assignments. If you are not using them, they should be deleted.
  5. “Tools” gives your students access to ALL of the tools available on Blackboard. Unless you’re using Blackboard extensively, it’s better to delete this item (to keep things simple for your students).

There are different ways to design your course-shell menu. Here are some examples:

Default Menu layout
Default Menu Layout
Example Menu Layout 1
Example 1: Simplified Menu Layout
Example Menu Layout 2
Example 2: Simplified Menu Layout with Specific Tools
Example Manu Layout 3
Example 3: Menu Layout by Weekly
5. UPLOADING SYLLABUS AND LECTURE FILES

Blackboard supports upload of all types of content. Make sure to follow our guidelines on how to prepare digital files properly (Be sure to go over the checklist!), and start uploading your course materials in your course-shell. Even you if you haven’t figured out the layout of your course-shell, you can upload your course syllabus and lecture materials at the least.

Yuja (File Repository)

The data limit for course materials on Blackboard is 750MB per course. So if you have large files such as PowerPoint presentations with images/videos/audios or multi-media files (i.e. audio and video), share your files via Yuja (aka “Kingsborough Yuja”) instead of uploading them directly in your Blackboard course. Yuja is a media repository that allows you to post and share large files. It is technically a platform that exists outside of Blackboard, but you can access it through your Blackboard courses, and from Yuja, you can easily share the files to your Blackboard courses.

*There are many useful tools within Yuja platform specifically with video uploads (i.e. auto closed captioning, lecture recording, etc.). If you are interested in learning more about Yuja, please reach out to KCeL (L705, ext: 6622)

6. Assessments

Blackboard lets you create assignments and tests/quizzes in any of the content areas (e.g. “Course Content” “Course Assignments” etc.) in your course-shell.

Assignment:
An Assignment acts as a drop box whereby the students can electronically submit their completed work whether it is an essay, problem set, or other form of assignment that can be submitted as an attachment. Likewise, the Assignment is where you return the graded assignment with feedback via Grade Center.
Test:
If you assignment/exam/quiz has a multiple questions or sections to it, the Test is probably a better tool of choice. You can create different question types (e.g., multiple choice, true/false, short answers, etc.), assign specific value to each question, and auto-grade in case of multiple choice and true/false questions. Test Tool Tutorial

 

7. Tools For Assessment

Besides the assessments (“Test,” “Assignments,” “Turnitin”) there are few other tools on Blackboard that you can use to assign work to your students. Followings are four most common ones:

Discussion Boards:

Discussion Boards are the most common of these four tools. Discussion Boards allow users to post and reply to messages. Replies that are associated with the same post are grouped together, creating message threads that can be expanded and collapsed. Generally, the course instructor controls the topics. Discussion Board Tool Tutorial

Blogs:

Blogs allow participants to post a chronological series of entries on a particular topic, either individually or shared. Newest entries come first in the list and users can add comments to blog entries. Group blogs can be viewed and edited by all group members. Blogs are less structured than the Discussion Board. The format is more open and conversational in style. Blogs Tool Tutorial

Journals:

Journals provide a place for students to write. Journals can be kept private between the instructor and the student or shared with the entire class. Only the instructor and author of the journal can add comments. Group journals can be viewed and edited by all group members. Journals Tool Tutorial

Wikis: 

Wikis are a collaborative space where all students can view, contribute and edit content. Wikis can be viewed, edited, and commented upon by all users in the course. Can be viewed and edited by all group members Each wiki contains a History detailing all the changes made to the pages. Wikis Tool Tutorial

 

8. Managing Your Course
Course Copy

Copying course content from one semester to another is the most convenient way for you to reuse and adapt existing course structures, materials and content.

Add Users

If you need to add your colleague or teaching assistants to your Blackboard course-shell, follow the instructions on this video below.