Category Archives: Bb FAQ

Need to add an Instructor to a Blackboard module? Here’s how….

If you are an Instructor on a module in Blackboard, it is possible for you to enroll other Instructors in that module.

  1. In the module, go to the Control Panel> Users and Groups> Usersenrol

2. In the Users page, click on Find Users to Enrol.

3. In the Enrol Users screen enter the username of the member of staff you wish to add. Change the Role in the dropdown box to Instructor, then click Submit.

Enrol Instructor

NB: If you don’t have the username of the staff member you would like to add then you can search for them by name or email address using the Browse button.


social media etiquette

We just had to re-post this excellent guide to Netiquette, online etiquette for students.

If your course contains online elements like a discussion board, blog or Twitter, this guide is a great way of talking with students about how to interact with each other in an academic setting.  Feel free to take it and adapt it in whatever way suits your course or students!

Thanks Melanie Barrand (Leed University) for putting this together and for letting us use it:

‘Netiqutte is a set of informal rules or conventions which can help ensure your online communication is clear, respectful and courteous. There are numerous versions of netiquette rules in existence however they all have the same central message: Be nice to each other, stay on topic and do the best you can.

Be nice to each other:
•Remember where you are and act accordingly. Robust discussion, or critique in a blog or discussion board does not require insults or slights.
•Be careful with your language and remember your audience – some conversational language and common idioms may not mean the same things to other readers.

Be helpful:
•Spell well.
•Write sentences, consider using paragraphs, and use punctuation (it’s free!).
•Use plain english.
•Don’t uz txt spk.
•Construct informative subject headings: A thread or post titled ‘Some reasons for Henry’s military success’ will be much more informative in a discussion about Henry ll than one titled ‘Henry’.
•Use formatting, bullet points and headings where necessary to add clarity to your communication.

Stay on topic in discussions:
•If your question or post in a discussion board is off topic but still related to the discussion begin your subject title with OT: to mean off topic. If your post is significantly or perhaps completely off topic, post it in another discussion room, perhaps the one set up for general questions.
•If your tutor asks you to reply in a specific thread please do so, don’t start a new thread.
•Avoid repetition. If another student posts a message making a point with which you agree, resist the temptation to post lots more messages saying ‘Me too’ or ‘I agree’. You should always say more, perhaps explain why you agree, or bring more evidence to support your position. Equally, if you disagree, explain why.

Quote or cite where necessary:
•If you quote from other people’s messages in yours, be careful to ensure the meaning of their words remains intact. People may be offended if you misquote them.
•Quote only where necessary. In a threaded discussion you don’t need to quote all of the text that came before yours. In a blog comment, a small quote from the original post will help contextualise and anchor your reponse.
•Be aware of copyright. Ensure that any material you reuse in your online communication is free from copyright issues. If you did not create the content yourself, you will need to check copyright.
•If you use a source, cite it – other people in the discussion might want to use the material and your citation will help them find it. To learn more about referencing, try a referencing tutorial from Skills@Library.’

You can read the original piece here.

How to re-order your modules by academic year

Thanks to the efforts of ISS and the Learning Technologies team it is now possible to easily re-organise your list of modules by academic year.

  • Login to Blackboard
  • On the Institution Tab visit the Course List area and move your cursor over the top right corner, so that a letter S is visible
  • Click on the letter S (Settings) in the top right
  • In section 1. Terms – select the check box next to the text Group by Term
  • Select all of the years that you wish to see, e.g. 2013/14, 2012/13
  • You can re-order the years in the Terms area by dragging and dropping them
  • If you do not want ot be able to view certain modules, de-select the relevant check boxes
  • Click Submit and you are finished

An example of the new ordered view by academic year. Click on the image below to view a larger one.


Want to know which students are enrolled in specific groups?

group staff quoteOne of the recurring themes that came out of the Blackboard staff survey this summer was the requirement for staff to be able to view or extract from Blackboard a list of students and the groups that they were enrolled in.

As a result of this NUIT have created a web page that allows you to easily view OR extract a list of students from a Blackboard module. To do this a member of staff needs to visit this web page and enter their module code, e.g. O1415-LAW1234. It is protected to staff use only and requires you to login to view it. Follow the on-screen prompts.

Here is an example of how the view option appears, displaying the group names and student details. The exact student details and the module code have been intentionally obscured. Click on the image below to see a larger more detailed one.

group membership example


We hope this helps those of you that asked for this in the staff survey.

Making Menu Items Visible

The modules for the 2013/14 academic year are all now visible for staff to work on in Blackboard. As is the case with last year during the rollover process all of your content has been copied forwards to this year’s module and the top level menu item has been automatically hidden. In order to make these areas visible follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the EDIT mode button is switched on. (You will know it is on once you see the options to edit your module)
  2. Move your mouse cursor over to the content area and from the drop-down area select SHOW LINK.
  3. Finished. See the image below for further clarification.


Enrolling staff on to your modules

As an Instructor (Modules) or a Leader (Community) in Blackboard you have the permission to enrol colleagues on to your Module/Community. At the current time we have 3 main roles within Blackboard.

  1. Instructor/Leader – this allows you to add/edit content, access the Grade Centre and enrol colleagues
  2. Teaching Assistant – All of the above apart from enrolling colleagues
  3. Student/Participant – Can view and participate in activities. No editing rights apart from within the group tool (if enabled)

You may also have heard of “guest access”. This is not currently enabled by default BUT if you are interested in using this feature please contact QuILT or the IT Service Desk.

Enrolling Staff
Log into your module and navigate to Control Panel > Users and Groups> Users.

  • Move mouse cursor over the Enrol User button
  • From the drop-down select “Find Users to Enrol”
  • On the next screen enter the staff username, e.g. nak55. From the role drop-down select the role, e,g, Instructor
  • Click Submit. You have enrolled a colleague on to your module.

How many staff and students have accessed Blackboard since early September 2012?

A question me and my colleagues occasionally get asked is…...How many staff and students use Blackboard? Well it depends what you mean by use, but here are a few metrics provided by Google Analytics with regards to Blackboard here at Newcastle University.

Ncl Bb analytics

The numbers listed here refer to the period from 03.09.12 to 22.11.12.

At the present time in order to access Blackboard you need a University username and password. So as you can see it is accessed a great deal by staff and students with an average of over 16 pages browsed per visit for just over 7 minutes per visit.
From statistics provided by the Blackboard application during the same period over 21000 active users (staff and students combined) logged into Blackboard. This is an impressive percentage if you take into account the total number of staff and students at the University based upon 2011/12 data. From this data total student number is 21,045 and total staff is 5096. From these two totals a significant number will not use Blackboard at all (Research based, operational and specialist staff, some medical Programmes). By my guesstimate if you reduce that total to around a potential total of 23000 you can see that a high percentage of staff and students use the institutional Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard.

Altering the default entry point for your module

The default entry point that you see when you login to a module can be altered to an area/activity of your choosing. This has always been the case but I think that staff were unaware of this feature. For some modules the entry point will be “Announcements” for others “Home Page” for some “Overview” and it may well be something else for others.

Altering the entry point

To change the entry do the following:
Go to the Control Panel area > Customisation > Teaching Style. Alter the entry point from the drop-down list and click SUBMIT.

(Click on the image below to see a larger one).


Video Streaming Server Updated – NUVision Open for Service

Video files are typically too large to upload directly to Blackboard. If you don’t want to put materials on public sites such as YouTube or Vimeo you can make use of a new ISS service NUVision.

NUVision takes a copy of your video, converts it to a size that can be streamed over the web and emails you embed code that you can use in Blackboard content areas. You assign keywords, titles and descriptions to files when you upload them, creating a searchable resource for your school.

To get started you need to register to use the service. For further information see the NUVision web page.