The e-mail functions can be accessed via the Tools area or the Control Panel (Course Tools).
Clicking on All Users will send an e-mail to every student registered for the class; Select Users allows you to select individual users.
Although you send the e-mail out from Blackboard, it goes to the students' regular Hamilton e-mail accounts, so that they can read it anywhere. Note: The outgoing message will NOT appear in your Out or Send box, but a copy of the e-mail will be automatically sent to the sender.
The All/Select Groups and other options will be active if groups (or other special users) have been defined. It is also possible to attach files to an e-mail.
The Blackboard Notification system provides alerts and emails regarding new material in courses, due dates, assignments, etc. The alerts appear in various modules of the "Course Home" of each course. The emails will be delivered once per day, generated at 4:00 AM, summarizing all changes in any course space you are enrolled in.
This Notification system can be configured depending on your individual needs. Go to the "Course Home" of any course. Click the "Edit Notification Settings" button in any of the modules. You can set notification preferences either for all courses or for each course individually. The "alerts" appear in the Course Home modules (under the "Dashboard" of the edit settings pages) and are automatically turned on. The individual emails for courses are off by default and need to be turned on if desired.
Discussion Boards enable you or your students to post Discussion Questions and discuss them outside of class. The comments generated are posted as individual "threads" and can be read and responded to at anytime. Blackboard's Discussion Board is subdivided into Forums (one per topic or question, for example) and each forum is further subdivided into threads (comments and responses on the same issue). There are many features available with the Discussion Board; what follows are just the basics.
Now you have begun an exciting discussion. Students may read and reply to messages by clicking on the title of the message itself (which will display the message) and then clicking on the Reply button located in the lower-right-hand corner of the message. They will fill in the Message area just as in a regular e-mail. Note that the message to which one is replying appears below. They must also click Submit to post the reply.
If you would like to collect messages together and print a discussion forum in order to bring the questions and responses to class, select the messages you wish to print (you may use the Select All button), then click the Collect button. You should see all the selected messages appear on one page. Then click the Print Preview button and you can print from this window.
Blackboard has two Collaboration Tools, the Virtual Classroom and the Lightweight Chat (both accessible from the Tools area or the Control Panel, under Collaboration). The Virtual Classroom includes a whiteboard, chat area and other tools in addition to the main display for full-fledged web seminars. The Lightweight Chat contains display and chat areas only and is suitable for more limited purposes such as on-line office hours.