There are a number of useful available for managing various aspects of a Blackboard course space. Some of these tools are part of Blackboard and some have been written by third-party developers and are not a standard part of Blackboard (and do not appear in the Instructors' manual).
Although Blackboard does not have a full-fledged scheduling system within itself, we have two tools that will allow the creation of time slots which students can sign up for – one using group sets and one using a custom content type. Each tool has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs. Here is documentation for both:
To create sign-up sheets using group sets, see the Blackboard Sign-up Sheet documentation.
To use the custom content type, see the Using the Sign-up Tool documentation.
Go to the Control Panel area, expand the Course Tools sub-menu, then click on Online Attendance. Use the Setup page to set semester start/end dates and days of meeting each week, then quickly enter attendance for every class meeting (there are values for present, absent, excused, late, etc.). This tool is not connected to the Grade Center, but does provide a report showing total number of days present, absent, etc. for each student.
This is an anti-plagiarism service run by Blackboard; one can either create an assignment that will automatically be submitted for checking against databases of known paper mills, or submit occasional papers manually if you suspect that a bit too much cutting and pasting has gone on. Here's how to submit a single paper:
The SafeAssign service accepts the following formats: Word 2003 (.doc); Word 2007 (.docx); Rich Text Format (.rtf); text files (.txt); Portable Document Format (.pdf); and archive files (.zip).
For further information, please see the SafeAssign Wiki.
This tool allows an instructor to create a sample student account to use for checking what a course looks like to students. You can enroll this student account in any course. Go to the Control Panel area, expand the Course Tools sub-menu, then click on Add Test Student.
There are a number of Course Reports available in the Control Panel area under Evaluation. These reports show overall usage by user of various parts of the course. (To track student accesses of individual items, turn on Statistics Tracking for that item and check the results under View Statistics; see the "Monitoring Student Progress" page for further information.)
Every course section in Blackboard has a group in the "Groups" area which has a title such as "ITS_100_01_FA2012_Group". This group is created automatically when we create the course shells every semester. It contains all the students for that section and is automatically updated as students add and drop courses. If a course is cross-listed with another department, these groups reflect the enrollments as seen in WebAdvisor. If an instructor requested that multiple sections of the same course be merged, then the enrollments reflect the original sections. These automatically-created groups can be used for a number of different purposes, such as sending email, group file exchange, viewing sub-groups of students in the Grade Center, and for group assignments.
You can use these groups for sending section-specific email:
For example, if you need an area in Blackboard for students to share files, just tell your students to:
If you would like to organize the Grade Center to see the grades of different sections separately, you can create a "Smart View" in the Grade Center using these automatically-created groups:
You can also create assignments for individual groups.