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About Janice Florent

Technology Coordinator in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana

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You can use the Grade Center to post your students grades online. Posting your students grades online will eliminate the phone calls, emails, and office visits from students trying to find out what their grades are. Columns are automatically created in the Grade Center for things like online exams, surveys, assignments, and graded discussion forums and threads. Columns for items such as oral reports, class presentations, participation, assignments and assessments done outside of Blackboard, etc are not automatically created in the Grade Center. You have to create these columns manually.

Follow these steps to do it.
You can add grade columns by getting into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to add the grade column. Click on the [Grade Center] link (located under Assessments) and then click the [Add Grade Column] button. Enter a name that describes what the grade column is in the Name field. Grade Center display name and description are optional. Select how you would like the score to be shown by clicking on the pull down arrow and selecting primary display from the list. Secondary display is optional and will only be shown in the Grade Center. You can optionally choose a category from the pull down list. Enter the total possible points for the grade column. You have the option of entering a due date. In the options section you should indicate whether you want to include the column in grade center calculations, show the grade in My Grades, and show statistics for the column in My Grades. My Grades is what is shown to your students when they go into your course. Click Submit when you are finished entering all your information and selecting the options. The grade column will be added as the last column in the Grade Center.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Announcements provide timely information for your students about class activities. Announcements are the ideal way to post time-sensitive material. The announcement area can be used to remind students of assignment and/or test dates, post changes to the course, announce upcoming events (such as a guest speaker), etc. You may direct students to a particular section of your course from an announcement. You also have the option to broadcast announcements to your students' email. That means the announcement appears on Blackboard, and also is sent to students' email. You may post multiple announcements when setting up your course and time them to be released separately by choosing staggered future display dates. For example, you know now that you want to post an announcement about the midterm exam and another about the final. Write both announcements now, but set the midterm announcement to display the week before the midterm and the final exam announcement to display a week before the final. Students will not be able to view either announcement until their assigned display dates.

Follow these steps to do it.
Get into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to make an announcement. Click on the [Announcements] link (located under course tools) and then click the [Add Announcement] button. Type a subject and message for your announcement. Select the display dates for the announcement, if any, and select whether or not the announcement will be permanent. NOTE: Non-permanent announcements disappear from the main announcements page after seven days and they are listed after permanent announcements in the course view. Check the box next to Email this announcement to all course users. Click [Submit].

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

The beginning of the semester is a good time to get started using Blackboard. Blackboard courses are automatically created using the course information in Banner approximately two weeks before the start of the semester. You can post your syllabus and course documents to your Blackboard courses. You can also customize your course menu and/or add a course banner.

Follow these steps to do it.
Instructions are available in previous Bb tips for customizing your course menu, adding a course banner, posting your syllabus, organizing course materials into folders, adding files, adding hyperlinks, and copying content into another course.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

The names of the courses in Blackboard are identical to the names that appear in the Banner system. Instructors have the ability to change the names of the courses to suit their needs. For example, if you teach two sections of French 1010, you can personalize the names to become FREN1010 – 9 MWF and FREN1010 – 11 MWF.

Follow these steps to do it.
To change the name of the Blackboard course, go to the [Control Panel] of the course in question. Click on the [Settings] link under the [Course Options] section. Click on the [Course Name and Description] link. Enter the new name for your course and click [Submit].

Note: Care should be taken to make sure the new name of the course can be recognized easily by the students enrolled.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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You can personalize your course by adding a banner to your course. A course banner is an image that appears at the top of the Announcements page of your course.

Follow these steps to do it.
To add a banner select [Course Design] under [Course Options] in the [Control Panel] and then select [Course Banner]. Click the [Browse] button and navigate desired image on your computer. Select the desired image file and click [Open]. Click [Submit] when you are done.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Blackboard’s Visual Text Box Editor (VTBE) allows you to format text easily. This WYSIYG (what you see is what you get) editor displays items as users will see them in your courses. The VTBE also has the functionality to allow easy uploading of files, pictures, macromedia flash files, and compatible audio and video files.

Follow these steps to do it.
The VTBE will be available to you when you add or modify Blackboard content items. You will notice that HTML code displays when the VTBE first opens. The HTML code will be replaced with the formatted text after a short period of time. You can get a tool tip when you allow the mouse to hover over each VTBE icon. This is helpful when you are trying to determine what each VTBE icon does. The triangle on the left side of the toolbar will toggle to expand/collapse each respective row in the VTBE.

Note: If you do not see the VTBE you should make sure the VTBE is available in your courses. To verify the VTBE is available, you should go to [Tools] or [Course Tools] (located on the course menu) and select the [Personal Information] link. Then select the [Set Visual Text Box Editor Options] link.

Want more information?
Additional instructions on the using the Text Box Editor are available at blackboard.com.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

You can embed a YouTube video in your course. When you embed a YouTube video you will see the YouTube video player with the video clip inside your Bb course. Alternatively, you can create an external link to a YouTube video by following the steps listed in Bb Tip #11. If you create an external link, you create a clickable link to the YouTube video. You will not see the YouTube video player inside your course. You only see the clickable link.

Note: YouTube is a third party website and we are not responsible for its content. You should read YouTube terms and conditions before using any videos. You can get additional information on copyrights in this article on Copyright Risks in Embedding YouTube Clips.

Follow these steps to do it.
In a separate web browser window (or web browser tab) find the YouTube video you wish to embed. Look for the text box labeled Embed. Click the [Embed] button (located in the video information to the right of the video). The HTML code for the video should be highlighted. Copy the embed link by pressing CTRL-C (or Command +C on a Mac). In another web browser window (or web browser tab) get into the [Control Panel] of the course you want to embed the YouTube video into. Click on the content area where you would like to place the video. Click on the [Add Item] button. Click the [Toggle HTML Source Mode] button. Paste the embed text you copied into the text box by pressing CTRL-V (or Command +V on a Mac). Click the [Toggle HTML Source Mode] button to toggle back to normal view. You should see your video in the text box. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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Links to outside web sites can be added to content areas as external links. By adding hyperlinks to your course you can point your students to web pages and Internet resources whose contents are not saved inside of your Blackboard course but are instead located on the Internet.

Follow these steps to do it.
To add a hyperlink to a content area, go to the [Control Panel] of the course you want to add the hyperlink to.

Note: If the content area you want to add the hyperlink to is not shown you will have to create it by modifying the course menu. Refer to Bb Tip #7 for instructions on “Customizing the Course Menu”.

Assuming the content area you want to add the hyperlink to is shown, you should click on the link for that content area in the [Control Panel]. Next select the [Add External Link] button on the toolbar. Enter a name for the hyperlink in the name field, the URL in the URL field, and enter a description or whatever information you want to appear below the hyperlink in the text box. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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You can upload files such as lecture notes, tutorials and image files for your students to have access to inside of your Blackboard course.

Follow these steps to do it.
To add a file to a content area, go to the [Control Panel] of the course you want to add the file to.

Note: If the content area you want to add the file to is not shown you will have to create it by modifying the course menu. Refer to Bb Tip #7 for instructions on “Customizing the Course Menu”.

Assuming the content area you want to add the file to is shown, you should click on the link for that content area in the [Control Panel]. Next select the [Add Item] button on the toolbar. Enter a name for the item in the name field. Choose a color for the name and enter text you want to appear below the item name. In the Content Section click the [Browse] button to locate the file on your computer. In the “Name of Link to File” box, enter the name that users will see for the attached file and choose the “Create a link to this file” in the special action field. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done.

To minimize the number of problems your students encounter with accessing the files you should follow the tips for naming files. Additionally, you should use common file types, such as Microsoft Office documents, RTFs, PDFs, GIFs and JPEGs. File size should be kept to a minimum to ensure that documents are accessible by students on slower internet connections. If you are unable to reduce the file size, you should use the text box in the Add Item area to provide your students with information describing what the file is, how large the file is, and why it is important that they view the file. Providing your students with this information will let them know that they have to wait longer for the file to download.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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Every university course in Banner is automatically created in Blackboard. Your students are automatically enrolled in your Blackboard course. You can post your syllabus to your Blackboard course so that your students can have easy access to it.

Follow these steps to do it.
The following instructions assume that you have a copy of your syllabus in a file that you can upload into your Blackboard course. If so, you should get into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to post your syllabus.

Note: You have to post your syllabus in a content area. If the content area you want to post your syllabus to is not shown you will have to create it by modifying the course menu. Refer to Bb tip #7 for instructions on Customizing the Course Menu.

Assuming the content area you want to post your syllabus is shown, you should click on the link for that content area in the [Control Panel]. Next select [Syllabus] from the drop down menu that on the right side of the toolbar and then click the [Go] button. Enter a name for your syllabus in the syllabus name field. Under the Syllabus option select the [Use existing file] button, [Browse] to find your syllabus file and click [Submit]. After you click submit you will be taken to the Modify Item form. The Content Information section allows you to change the name, choose a color for the name and enter text. Only the name field is required. In the Content section, you should see your syllabus file listed under the currently attached files and items. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418