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In this course, Patrick Crispen teaches the ins and outs of Blackboard 9 so that educators and trainers can get up to speed in the system quickly—even if they've never used Blackboard before. The course explores customizing a course site, managing users, and adding and organizing content, including multimedia. It also shows how to perform student assessments in the Grade Center, as well as how to communicate with students and encourage participation and collaboration.
To create an assignment in the Blackboard course, access a content area. In fact, the best practice is to create a new content area for your students called Assignments. Make it available to the students, drag it to the right location, in this case, I'll put it above Course Documents, and then click Create Assessment > Assignment. Or if you're running Blackboard 9.0 click Evaluate > Assignment. The Assignment tool is the easiest way for you to collect grade and return students submissions, assignments, papers, and files.
Now why not click on Build Content instead or click on Create Item in Blackboard 9.0? Well, you use Build Content or Create Item to hint something out to your students that you don't particularly want them to return to you online. The Assignments tool is what you use to collect assignments from your students. So let's actually create an assignment. I'm going to create a new assignment. Type in the name, Assignment 1.
I can change the color as it appears on the page and notice I've got the text editor that we've seen before. I'm actually going to paste my instructions here. I've got an assignment where I'm going to have my students write a two-page paper. If I had some sort of supporting material for the students, say I wanted them to read a guide or a rubric or some other information, I could attach it here or I could scroll down and click on Attach File. Many instructors do that. It's just a way to support their student, to scaffold what they are writing.
I'm going to scroll down in this case. We got to type in how many points is this worth. This is going to be worth 100 points. It's going to ask me do I want to make the assignment available? What that really is asking is will students ever be able to take this assignment? If you uncheck it the answer is going to be no, the students can never take this assignment until you go back, edit this and turn it back on. My recommendation? Make the assignment available and limit the availability below. Now let me give you a tip from years of experience.
You're looking at this saying, "Okay, Number of Attempts. Allow Single Attempt. That sounds like a great idea. I don't want my students be able to submit a paper over and over again." Experience shows Allow Single Attempt is always, always a bad idea, because there's going to be one student in your class who is going to accidentally submit the wrong paper. It just happens all the time. My recommendation is choose Number of Attempts and choose 2. That just make sure that if a student does submit the wrong file, you don't have to go into the Grade Center, clear the students attempts, because that's going to happen so often, you're just going to get frustrated.
If you set the number of attempts as two, you have nothing to worry about. The students will have a chance to catch up. Now if you do this, I do recommend that you do something else. You're going to need to limit the availability. You want to make sure that this shows up at a certain date and time. We haven't actually played around with this yet, so let's take some time. I'm going to click on this and I'm going to have it show up. Now today, we are doing this on a Saturday, and we'll have it show up at noon. So I'll scroll down and choose Noon.
And I'm going to give the students until next Friday to turn in this paper. Click the date and I'm going to choose until next Friday. In that case next Friday is in July, so I have to go into next month. Now this is where things get a little confusing. If I were to go and ask a hundred people, is midnight the beginning of the day or the end of the day, I'm going to get 50 answers saying beginning and 50 answers that say the end of the day. Blackboard kind of says well, we'll put midnight here and we'll add an end of the day here.
But to tell the truth there are just so many people who don't know that midnight is the first minute of the first hour of the day and not the end of the day, it's just easier not to use midnight as the due date. My recommendation is choose like 11:30, or if you want to you can actually go and you do 11:59. You can type in a time. I'm going to turn on Track the Number of Views. Now with Display Until basically at the end of the day, 11:59 p.m. on July 1st the link to my assignment disappears.
The students will never ever be able to see that again. I do this instead of setting a due date. See with a due date, it's a great concept, but a due date allow students to submit papers after the due date. It will just mark it as late. My recommendation is set a strict deadline. It has to be turned in by 11:59 p.m. on July 1st and if you don't turn it in, I'm not going to give you an option to turn it in late. If you do want to allow late assignments, then you uncheck both Display After and Display Until and choose Due Date. So this is an either/or situation. Let's scroll down.
Finally, it's going to ask me, okay well who can take this assignment, who can complete it? I can choose All Students or if I'm working with groups I can have Groups of Students take this. I'm just going click All Students Individually. I click on Submit and there it is. Now we're just a few minutes before noon so it's not available right now, but let me show you what this thing looks like from a student's point of view. Right now, because it's not noon yet, the students don't see anything.
However, after noon the students will see a link and when they click on this link they will be able to submit the assignment, and this is actually what the students will see. There's a place here where the students can either type their answer. My recommendation is tell your students don't do that. Instead have the students browse their computer and submit their file that way. This process is similar to the process of attaching a file to an email message. The students can also give you some comments when they submit their papers. And students can either then click Save as draft and come back and submit it later or click on Submit. That's about it.
In our next movie, we're going to show you how to download the files that students submit to an assignment.
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