Blackboard: Basic Guides for Faculty
The best preparation for a semester is well before the semester begins. This page will help guide faculty through the Blackboard process, including checklists of things to do for each course before the semester begins.
To report an issue or send a specific request, please use our Help page.
We recommend using the Google Chrome browser for Blackboard, especially for testing.
Please note that not all Blackboard functions may work on iPads, so we highly recommend the use of Mac/Windows laptops or desktop computers for full functionality.
If you are looking for a robust online module, our SSW Orientation for Developing and Teaching Online and Hybrid Courses course is a perfect first start.
This Orientation Course is an informative (yet short) tutorial on how to teach a course online.
First, grab the Self Enrollment link to enroll in the course.
Then view each of the modules in the embedded graphic below. You can click on an icon to get to the module.
There are (at a minimum) six things that all faculty will want to do prior to the start of the new semester:
Copy course content from an older version of the course
Make the course available to students
Add TA's or other colleagues to the course
Send email/announcements to students (see tips!)
See a previous semester's course evaluations
Add Zoom Meetings to your course
And at the end...
Enter competency scores into Blackboard Grade Center
Check course evaluations
Please view this graphic to determine who to call when you need support.
You can also check the Blackboard Learn status page which has information regarding known/reported service outages. https://status.blackboard.com
Topic-Based Documentation and Tutorials
First Timers: Blackboard Orientation materials
Specific Functions and Tools:
Attendance - take and grade attendance
Students - how do I see a list of my students? Answer: Lower left > Control Panel > Users and Groups > Users
Copy Course Content (copy course content from Fall to Spring, etc...!)
Implementing Interactive and CommunicationTools - information on Announcements, Blogs, Discussions, Journals and more
Assignments - see all tutorials about setting up, grading, and managing assignments
Tests, Pools, and Surveys - How to use tests and surveys to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students
Deploying a Test - an important step after you create the questions and build the exam: students can see it unless you deploy it!
Using the Assignment tool for exams - where students download a Word doc, fill it in, and upload it for their exam.
Grade Center see all tutorials related to the Grade center including how to navigate, grade and customize the grading interface
Tracking Student Performance: Retention Center
The Blackboard Retention Center, located in the Course Management Control Panel under Evaluation, provides a summarized view of students who may be at risk in your class due to missed deadlines and due dates, low grades or inactivity. See more info on the Retention Center.
The Performance Dashboard also shows information about last access to your course, days since last access, number of discussion board posts and other summarized information about student performance in your class that may be helpful if you need to reach out to a particular student.
Access the Retention Center
The Retention Center is automatically on and immediately visible in your My Blackboard menu. You can also access the Retention Center in the Evaluation section of a course's Control Panel. The information in the Retention Center is for instructors only and isn't seen by your students.
The main table displays which students are at risk in one or more of four categories:
You can create as many rules as you need in each category.
Select the red dot indicator in a student's cell for more information, to include the student in the monitoring section in the right panel, or to send an email.
Select students' names to access their Retention Status pages. View their risk factors and the notification emails you've sent. You can also add these private notes about an individual student:
Remedial activities or accelerated materials offered
Special accommodations for disabilities or language barriers
Extra attempts allowed on assignments or tests
Who is assigned to help the student
Possible teaching assistant or student mentor opportunities
Please visit our separate knowledgebase page titled Retention Center for an in depth review of how to retain students.
These tutorial videos from Ashlie Kauffman-Sarsgard, Lead Instructional Designer for the IDEA Team are helpful guides to assist with the proper implementation of the Grade Center in Blackboard.
It is possible when pasting in from Word or other applications or websites that the text you paste in is not formatted as it was or as you would like. Here are some possible ways to get the text formatting to work for you:
1. You can remove formatting from pasted in text by highlighting the text and clicking the Remove Formatting icon:
2. You can delete and re-paste in the text without formatting using keyboard controls. On the Mac: paste in without formatting: Command+Option+Shift+V (all at once) will paste in the text and remove formatting. (Note this will also remove hyperlinks...) On a PC: here are instructions
3. Advanced: You can click the <> icon in the lower right of the toolbar and go into remove formatting code.
4. Before you paste into Blackboard, paste into Notepad, TextEdit or another plain text editor. Format after you have pasted into Blackboard.
One of the most important things that you can do for students is to make sure all links are created as hyperlinks. Unfortunately, Blackboard does not automatically convert linked text to a hyperlink and when you clear formatting, you lose existing hyperlinks altogether. The following steps will turn existing text into a hyperlink:
1. Select the full hyperlink from a browser tab and copy it
2. Head to Blackboard and open a Content area from where you wish to add your hyperlink
3. Highlight and select the portion of text that you wish to turn into a hyperlink. Alternatively, you can just paste the full hyperlink in and select it.
1. Select the link hyperlink icon from the toolbar.
2. The hyperlink window will appear. From here you will want to
paste the copied hyperlink address into the the link path (3)
select Open in New Window (_blank) (4)
3. Your new selection of text is now a clickable hyperlink.