We updated Blackboard to version 9.1 Service Pack 6 on August 16th. While this update does not change much in the way things work, it corrects some errors that we’ve noticed. For most users the changes will be invisible.
Students who have timed tests in Blackboard may notice that there is now an autosubmit option that instructors can select that will save and submit a test after a specified time. In previous versions, students could continue to work and Blackboard would record start and end times for instructors to determine if students completed the test in the alloted time. With the autosubmit feature, an instructor can require that students stop work when time runs out – Blackboard will save the test answers and submit without the students intervention.
For instructors there are a few minor changes. In addition to the autosubmit feature, the attempt details list the amount of time used for tests – you no longer have to calculate the amount of time a student exceeded the time limit if you choose not to use autosubmit. If you grade discussion boards, wikis, blogs, and journals, you can indicate how many posts must be submitted before you are notified that an item needs grading. Finally, rubrics can be created and linked to assignments, blogs, wikis, and journals. Any gradable content type will have an option to create or select a rubric once the grading option has been selected. Rubrics can be made available to students any time or only after the item has been graded.
As with Spring semester, we created a Blackboard site for every course offered by the College. We accomplishing this by feeding data from our institutional database system, Datatel, and importing the information (course number, name, instructor, and student enrollments) into Blackboard. We are employing an automated process so that enrollments and changes in courses are updated daily. Although a site is created for every course offered by the College, this does not mean that you have to use Blackboard for your courses. The decision to use Blackboard for any course remains with the instructor.
Combining Sections or Courses
If you have multiple sections of a course or cross-listed courses that you want to combine into a single site you can combine them using the Course Enrollment Merge tool. The instructions for merging course enrollments are posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/CourseMergeTool.pdf
Removing Unused Sites from My Courses
The Course Enrollment Merge tool will make the course you are using as the combined course available, but make the other course sites unavailable. If you don’t want to see these unused sites in your list of courses in the My Courses module in Blackboard you can choose not to display them. The instructions for changing which courses appear under My Courses are also posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/MyCoursesQG.pdf
In the past we have copied content from old courses to new, however, with the increased number of courses using Blackboard this has become unmanageable. Blackboard does have tools available to course instructors that permit copying content from one course to another. The course copy tool is one option but a somewhat better option seems to be the Export/Import tool set. The instructions for using the Export/Import tools are available on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is at: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/CourseExportImport.pdf
Another change in procedures is in making courses available to students. In the past we made all Blackboard courses available on the first day of classes. Instructors who wanted their courses available sooner had to do so themselves. Because we are creating Blackboard sites for all courses and because instructors are not required to use Blackboard we will not know who is using Blackboard and who is not. Additionaly, some instructors using Blackboard want students to have access to their sites in advance of the semester and others want to wait until the first class (or later) for students to access the sites. To accommodate these varying needs we will no longer make courses available. Instructors can at any time after a site is created make their Blackboard sites available to students. Instructions for making course sites available are posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Bb9CourseAvailabilityQG.pdf