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The Digital Drop Box provides a shared area where students and instructors can store and exchange files. The Assignment feature integrates with the Grade Center and organizes assignments so they are easier to access and grade than those that are submitted via email or the Digital Drop Box.

Faculty should consider using the Digital Drop Box when file exchange is needed between the instructor and one student, a select group of students, or when a project will not be graded. On the other hand, an Assignment may be more effective when a grade will be assigned to student work and the graded project/assignment requires submission of a document.

These scenarios [PDF] present several different examples of how the Digital Drop Box and Assignments may be used separately or together to collect student work.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available for using the
Digital Drop Box [PDF], creating Assignments [PDF],
and viewing/grading Assignments [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

You can enter grades directly into cells in the Grade Center (Bb Tip # 19). However, when grading assignment submissions, it is best to use Grade Details to grade assignment submissions. Entering assignment grades directly into the cells will cause the student’s view of the assignment in My Grades to display as needs grading. Additionally, entering grades for assignment submissions directly in the cells rather than going through grade details will lead to incorrect calculations in the assignment’s column statistics.

Follow these steps to do it.
From the [Control Panel] select [Grade Center] which is located under Assessments. Inside the Grade Center, find the assignment column for the assignment submissions you want to view/grade. Move your mouse to the right side of the cell of the assignment you want to view/grade. Point to the down arrow and select [Grade Details] from the drop-down menu. Next, click on the [View Attempt] button in the Grade Details screen. Section 2 of the Grade Assignments screen shows the student’s comments as well as any files the student attached. Click on the hyperlink to view the file the student attached. In section 3, enter the student’s grade, your comments, and attach any files you want to send to the student. In Instructor Notes (section 4), enter your notes and attach files that will only be seen by you.

It is possible to download assignment submissions to view offline. To download assignments, move your mouse to the down arrow on the right side of the column heading for the assignment and select [Assignment File Download] from the drop-down menu. Select the assignments to be downloaded and click [Submit]. A zip file with the assignments is created. Click on the link for this zip (packaged) file and save the file on your computer. Navigate to where you saved the zip file and open the file to view the assignments.

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

Using the Assignment feature is an effective way to collect student assignments electronically rather than in paper form. It streamlines the submission and grading of student files. Instructors can create coursework and then manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. After an assignment is created, students can access the assignment, complete it in a separate file, and send it back to the Instructor. The Instructor responds to each student separately, grading their assignment, providing comments on their individual assignment and attaching files, if necessary.

Note: The assignment has to be created in a content area. By default, courses are created with an “Assignment” content area. If you want to create your course assignments in a content area that does not exist, you will have to create it by modifying the course menu. Refer to Bb Tip #7 for instructions on “Customizing the Course Menu”.

Follow these steps to do it.
Assuming the content area you want to place your assignment in is shown, you should click on the link for that content area in the [Control Panel]. Next select [Assignment] from the drop down menu located on the right side of the toolbar and then click the [Go] button. Enter a name for your assignment in the Name field, choose a color for the name, enter the points possible, due date, and instructions for the assignment. Files that you want to be available for the assignment should be attached in the Assignment Files section. Click the [Browse] button to locate the file on your computer. In the “Name of Link to File” box, enter the name that students will have to click on to access the attached file. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done. A column for this assignment will automatically be added to the Grade Center.

Students access the assignment by clicking on the [View/Complete Assignment] link below the assignment name and instructions. Students can then attach their files and click [Submit] to complete the assignment. The completed assignment submissions are then accessed by the Instructor through the Grade Center.

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

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Download Conversation #11

Regina Barreca

A conversation with Dr. Regina Barreca of University of Connecticut on teaching, learning, and humor.

You can't use humor to be liked. You have to use it to make a point. Especially for women, too often our sense of self-esteem or even, in a professional setting, our sense of accomplishment comes from, you know, do they like me? And it can't work that way. Teaching certainly can't function that way. It has to be: did I make this point effectively? Did they get it? And that's very different than being liked.

Links for this episode:

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You can enter grades quickly by using the ‘Enter’ key after inputting the student's grade in the cell.

Follow these steps to do it.
Click in a cell to add the student’s score and then press the Enter key. The grade will be saved in the cell and the cursor will move to the next row. If the ‘Enter’ key is NOT pressed, and you attempt to exit the cell or the Grade Center, a dialog box will appear asking if you want to save the grade entry.

Note: Scores from items in the course (such as online tests, exams, and surveys) are automatically entered into the Grade Center. Other grades have to be manually entered into the Grade Center. Refer to Bb Tip #18 for instructions on creating grade columns manually.

Want more information?
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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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