Instructors have a variety of collaboration tools, including a few new tools like blogs, wikis, and journals, to choose from and to make available for students to use in a Blackboard course.
Instructors must turn “Edit Mode” on to expose the action menus that enable editing and adding content to pages.
The “Edit Mode” button is in the upper right of a course content page. Click on the button to turn it on or off.
Create Links to the Tools
In this version of Blackboard, instructors can now place tools on course page within the context of related course materials and enter a meaningful name for a tool (e.g. instead of using a generic label like “Discussion Board,” you can enter a name for the tool that indicates the topic of the discussion). Instructors can also easily link to a collaboration tool (e.g. a wiki) or set of tools from the course menu and again edit the name to provide a meaningful label.
The “Tools” page is still provided, and if you wish to use that as the entry point to the tool set you wish your students to use, instructors will need to make sure that a link to that page is available to students.
Add a Collaboration Tool to a Course Page
From a content area in the course and with “Edit Mode” turned ON, mouse over the “Add Interactive Tool” button located at the top of the page to expand the tool selections.
Select from the dropdown menu, the collaborative tool you want to link to from the content area you are currently working in:
- Discussion Board
- Bookshelf by Vitalsource
- Virtual Classroom
Rearrange where the link to the tool is placed.
Add a Tool to the Course Menu
Click the plus (+) button in the course menu and select “Create Tool Link.” Enter a name for the link and choose the tool from the list. Then optionally click the checkbox to make it available to users. Once you make it available, students will have access to the link. If you do not make it available, only users with the role of instructor and TA will have access to the link.
Add Access to the Tools Area
The Tools Area is still available for your use. If you want students to access this area, you will need to make sure you have provided a link to it. Click the (+) sign in the course menu to add a link to the Tools Area from the course menu.
Within the Tools Area, individual tools can be disabled by clicking the “Hide Link” button next to the particular tool.
Make Tools Available
Instructors have the ability to determine which course tools are available to students. You can either leave the default settings and provide access to all, or use a limited set of tools and create links to those. If you want students to access the tools, make sure a link to the tools is available for them.
Expand the Control Panel and click “Tool Availability” under the “Customization” menu. The list of all tools will appear and you can select to make them available or unavailable to students. Some commonly used tools include:
- Discussion Board
- My Grades