Blackboard Learn 9: Blackboard’s Next Generation Learning System
Come summer 2009 we will be upgrading to Blackboard’s new learning platform, Blackboard Learn 9. The Blackboard Learn line represents both a merger of features from Blackboard’s Learning System and the WebCT products acquired during the Blackboard WebCT merger a few years ago and an interface upgrade. For long-time Blackboard users, there will be points of familiarity as well as changes. The most notable change is the interface. Instructors can turn the Edit mode on and off to allow adding content to the course site from the main interface. This control is global, unlike the edit/display view switch in Blackboard 8. The Control Panel has been integrated into the main menu in the course site separated from the navigation menu by a “Course Management” heading. Content areas are now created from the navigation menu instead of the control panel.
Other features of interest:
- Journals and Blogs – Journals are private blogs for the student to share work with the instructor. Blogs are either created by an individual and share to the class, or created jointly among all course members. All access to blogs is limited to users enrolled in the course.
- Groups – You now have the option to create sets of groups all with the same settings. Enrollment options have changed as well. You can manually enroll students as in the past but now you can have students self-enroll, or students can be randomly assigned to groups. When you assign students to a group you add them on the same page as you create the group page and assign tools. No more creating a group and then having to modify it to add students. You can create assignments for groups with grades posted to all students in the group.
- Alerts and Notifications – a new tab is available listing user defined notifications for events in the system. Notification Dashboards provide students and instructors with What’s New, Needs Attention, Alerts, To Do items which can be sent via e-mail if desired.
Summer training Schedule will be posted soon and new Instructional Technology support site will launch before the upgrade occurs. For instructors teaching summer courses, orientation sessions and access to our test system will be available before the start of the semester. All courses developed on our production system for Summer 2009, will transfer to the new system.
New this summer, we are introducing week-long workshops. The goal of these workshops is to quickly assist you in assembling an engaging Blackboard site for your course. We will be working with library staff to bring you instruction and support in configuring your course, creating a variety of content items with free tools, and using the interactive and reflective tools available in Blackboard. We will offer two of these workshops, one for experienced Blackboard users and one for novices. Details and dates will be announced by early May.
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