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Blackboard

Blackboard is the university’s current learning management system (LMS), used for course content administration at Ontario Tech University. It is an online platform in which students and instructors can access content and various communication tools for each of their courses. Courses in Blackboard are automatically created for undergraduate courses at Ontario Tech and students are automatically enrolled through Banner prior to the start of the course.

Instructors can use Blackboard to post course materials including the course outline and weekly course materials, assignment information and important announcements. There are also options for creating assignment areas for students to submit work, online tests, discussions, group tools and more.

Students can access information related to their courses, submit electronic copies of assignments, complete online tests and communicate with their classmates, teaching assistants and instructors in Blackboard.

Blackboard organizations are available to Faculty, departments and recognized groups as online collaboration spaces to share similar interests and goals to further enhance the UOIT learning experience. All new organization requests must have an owner (faculty) and a backup both responsible for content, usage and registration of participants. All requested organization names will be reviewed and must be approved by UOIT prior to creation.

Getting Started

You can login at uoit.blackboard.com using your Banner ID as the username and your network password. Your courses should be available within the My Courses module upon logging into Blackboard.

Examples

  • Post the course outline
  • Post weekly content (slides, readings, videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Create electronic assignments and tests
  • Create online groups for assignments and discussions
  • Keep students up-to-date on their progress in the course through the Grade Centre

Best Practices

Content
For consistency between courses, use the Content section in your to post weekly content. Review the tips for preparing and selecting instructional materials

Course Themes
If you are choosing customized themes for your course site, ensure that there is a good contrast between background colours and text and avoid distracting patterns or loud colours.

Assessments
If you are using Blackboard to administer a test, use the Online Testing Checklist to ensure your test will go smoothly. Avoid cutting and pasting question text directly from Word, Google Docs, etc. Use “Paste as Plain Text” or remove formatting before cutting and pasting. Test the assessment before making it available to students to preview any formatting, special submission requirements, etc.

Grades
Please note that final grades are posted in My Campus rather than in Blackboard. As such, one grade column and any column that is set to calculate final grades in the Blackboard Grade Centre should be kept hidden from students to ensure that final grades are only released through My Campus. 

It is important to verify all grade calculations before submitting final grades to My Campus. This End of Semester Grade Centre Checklist may be helpful. Downloading a copy of the Grade Centre to Excel in order to confirm calculations is recommended. 

Final Grades: Upload from Blackboard to MyCampus
Final grades can be downloaded from Blackboard and uploaded into MyCampus. Learn more about this process by downloading our Learning Library infosheet. If you encounter any errors during the upload process, please refer to the Updating Errors on the Validation Report document.

Make sure you submit final grades on time, in the correct format. Students may need their grades to register for a pre-requisite, apply to other programs, or stage academic appeals and timely receipt of their grades is important.

The Teaching and Learning Centre has a collection of resources and tutorial videos to help you use Blackboard in your teaching practice. If you need help using Blackboard, visit our Help and Support section below.

Please also visit the Learning Library resources for Respondus 4.0 Campus-wide or Respondus LockDown Browser, if either of these tools will be used for tests in your course.

Downloading & Exporting Course Materials

It is recommended to download and backup important course materials from the Learning Management System (LMS) as we prepare to move to a new LMS. Instructors can download copies of course files from the Content Collection and can also create a backup copy of their course that may be uploaded to a new course in a LMS.

Title PDF Video
Downloading Course Materials from the Content Collection   PDF  
Exporting a Blackboard Course   PDF   

 

General Features of Blackboard

Title PDF Video
Introductory Overview for Instructors   PDF   Video - Adding a Content Area
Adding a Content Area   PDF    Video - Adding a Content Area
Accessing Course Tools   PDF   Video - Adding a Content Area
Using the Global Navigation Menu   PDF   Video - Adding a Content Area
Adding a Tool Link   Video - Adding a Content Area
Accessing Blackboard Collaboration Tools   Video - Adding a Content Area
Working with Text Copied from Microsoft Office Applications   PDF
Retention Centre Overview   PDF
Editing My Courses Module Setting   PDF
Disabling Notification Settings for Old Courses   PDF
Accessing the Content Editor   PDF
Using the Contacts Tool   PDF
Course Roster and Users Page   PDF

Using the Course Copy Feature

  PDF

Assignments

Title PDF Video
Creating an Assignment   PDF   Video - Adding a Content Area
Creating a Turnitin Revision Assignment   PDF
Creating Self and Peer Assessments   PDF
Creating a Self-Enrol Group Set   Video - Adding a Content Area

Administering Tests

Title PDF Video
Online Testing Checklist   PDF
Creating a Test   PDF
Viewing Test Durations   PDF
Viewing Assessment Attempts   PDF
Using Test Availability Exceptions   PDF   Video - Adding a Content Area
Submitting a Test Attempt from the Grade Centre   PDF
Setting a Test to Require the Respondus LockDown Browser  
Ignoring a Test Attempt   PDF
Copying Tests with Question Sets   PDF
Editing the Test and Test Options   Video - Adding a Content Area

Grade Centre

Title PDF Video
Grade Centre Quick Guide   PDF
Creating and Managing Grade Centre Categories   PDF
Using the Weighted Total Column   PDF
Reordering Grade Centre Columns   PDF
Changing the Grade Display   PDF
Viewing Assessment Attempts   PDF
Assignment File Download   PDF
Editing Grades in the Full Grade Centre   PDF Video - Adding a Content Area
Exempting a Grade   PDF
The Needs Grading Page   PDF
Hiding Grade Centre Columns   PDF
Hiding the Total Column/Editing Column Information   PDF
Attaching Marked Assignment Files   PDF
Download/Upload Grade Centre Data   PDF
Grade Centre Checklist | End of Semester   PDF
Grade Upload Process – Blackboard 9.1 to MyCampus   PDF
MyCampus Upload Grade Process – Updating Errors on the Validation Report   PDF

Designs and Themes

Title PDF Video
Creating Course Links   PDF
Changing the Course Entry Point   PDF
Adding Tool Links   PDF
Adding a Page Banner   PDF

Using Organizations

Title PDF Video
Overview of Organizations   PDF
My Organizations Module   PDF

For Students

Title PDF Video
Overview of Blackboard for Students   Video - Adding a Content Area
The Blackboard Content Editor   Video - Adding a Content Area
The Updated Calendar in Blackboard   Video - Adding a Content Area
My Grades    PDF  
Good Practices for Submitting Assignments     PDF
Submitting a Group Assignment in Blackboard Video - Adding a Content Area
Using the Blog Tool Video - Adding a Content Area
Editing Wikis Video - Adding a Content Area
Self and Peer Assessment Video - Adding a Content Area
Using the 'My Blackboard' Global Navigation Menu Video - Adding a Content Area

Help and Support

If you’d like one-on-one support, contact the Teaching and Learning Centre by emailing  teachingandlearning@uoit.ca. There are also faculty development workshops available.

Register for a Blackboard Workshop

For technical support, including password issues and issues related to MyCampus uploads, contact the IT Service Desk . For additional support using Blackboard, please complete our Blackboard Support Request form so the Teaching and Learning Centre staff can better assist you.

Blackboard Support Request Form

 

Occasionally we have issues with some of the features in our current Blackboard environment. The following is a list of common ones, along with suggestions on how to work around them or recommendations on how to deal with them: 

All Users

File attachments included in Course Messages with file names longer than 120 characters may generate an error

If file attachments with file names exceeding 120 characters (including blank spaces and special characters) are sent through Course Messages, an error message may be generated.

Recommendation: When attaching files to course messages, keep file names under 120 characters in length and avoid special characters in file names.

Contact the IT Service Desk if an error message is displayed when attempting to access the Course Messages tool.

Content pasted into discussion boards may be displayed outside of the normal boundaries of the discussion board

When HTML content is pasted into a discussion forum, the text may overlap other areas of the page that do not normally display discussion board text. Similarly, HTML content added to other areas of Blackboard may result in similar issues. 

Workarounds: Two workarounds are suggested. 

  • Highlight content that is copied/pasted from programs outside of Blackboard into the discussion forum, and select the 'Remove Formatting' icon (it looks like an eraser) in the text editor.
  • Alternatively, you can compose or copy and paste any content that will be pasted into a Blackboard discussion post into WordPad or NotePad and then copy and paste it from there into the Blackboard discussion post. This will prevent underlying code from other programs, such as Microsoft Word, from being copied into the discussion board. Additional formatting can be completed in Blackboard. 

Instructors

Possible discrepancy between letter grade displayed and percentage displayed in calculated columns in the Grade Centre

In some cases, the letter grade displayed may not match the percentage grade displayed in calculated columns (examples: Total or Weighted Total columns) due to rounding errors.

For example, a grade cell could show A- and 85%; however, A- and 85% do not align according to the university's grading scale.

Recommendation: Always confirm all grade calculations manually and/or through Excel before posting final grades to My Campus.

Do not reveal final grades through Blackboard.

Grade columns with '0' points possible, used for extra credit, may not be included in calculated column calculations

Grades entered into grade columns used to calculate extra credit (e.g., grade columns out of '0' points possible) may not be captured in calculated columns, including Weighted and Total columns, in the Grade Centre.

Recommendations: Confirm all grade calculations manually and/or through Excel before posting final grades. If adding extra credit, note that calculations may need to take place entirely outside of Blackboard, if not reflected in the particular calculated column used. 

Note: 'Total' columns may capture the extra credit but confirm calculations to be sure.

Test points display to students regardless of settings

If a test's grade column is not hidden, students will be able to view their score on the test, regardless of the test options selected by the instructor (for example, to only display after a certain date).  

Recommendation: Hide the grade column for each test until you are ready to release grades to students.  Visit the Hiding Grade Centre Columns document for more information.

In-line rubric results may not be saved

If feedback is entered using the in-line view of a Blackboard rubric (located on the right side of 'Grade Assignment' page), and 'Save Rubric' is selected, the feedback text may not be saved. Additionally, rubric feedback may not be saved if scores are not selected.

Workaround: Use the pop-out view of the rubric (i.e. open the rubric in a new window) when grading student assignments. 

Additionally, save rubric feedback outside of Blackboard as a backup.

Rubric scores for re-graded assignments may not be saved

If an assignment with an associated Blackboard rubric is initially graded without the rubric and then re-graded with the rubric, the rubric score may not be saved.

Workaround: If a rubric is associated with an assignment in Blackboard, ensure that it is used to grade each assignment attempt.

Quick Comment text editor 

The text editor in the Quick Comment feature within the Grade Centre may not work (basic text may not work). If an attachment is selected (example: graded Word document or PDF) for an assignment not submitted through the Blackboard assignment tool, the text editor may fail.

Recommendation: Send attachments to students using the Messages feature.  Also keep a backup copy of the marked assignment for future reference (e.g., possible grade appeal).

Submission counts are incorrect on Single Course User Participation Report

The Single Course User Participation Report (available in Course Reports) incorrectly marks a student assignment as submitted when it has been saved as a draft. Additionally, the Single Course User Participation Report intermittently has missing assignment entries. Submission totals will also be incorrect.

Recommendations: Do not use the Single Course User participation report. Use the Grade Centre to identify the number of assignment submissions made by each student.

Unable to access SCORM packages after a course copy

SCORM files are missing after a course copy, if the Source Course (i.e. the original course) contains more than one SCORM package.

Workaround: Re-upload the SCORM packages into the Destination Course (i.e. the new course), or contact the IT Service Desk. 

Self and Peer error when creating criteria for a question

When using Internet Explorer 11, you may receive an "HTTP 400 bad request" error.

Workarounds: Use Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer when creating a Self and Peer Assessment.


Students

Student receives error when uploading an assignment using Safari browser 11.1

Workaround: Clearing the browser history should fix the issue.

  1. Log out of Blackboard. 
  2. In the Safari browser, select Safari from the menu bar then Clear History.
  3. Leave All History selected and select the Clear History button. 
  4. Log into Blackboard and submit the assignment. 
  5. If the issue persists, contact the IT Service Desk