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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 a group of students within your Blackboard course, access your course and then on your course menu click on Groups. If you don't see a link to Groups there, you can actually add a tool link to Groups, or scroll down and under Users and Groups click on Groups. Finally, choose whether or not you want to create just one group or a set of groups. Now before we do that I want to show you a secret. I'm going to click on Group Settings. Blackboard 9 out of the box gives the students the ability to create their own groups, so they can have their own study groups that they can create within Blackboard.
These groups are sort of their own little walled garden. They have their own set of tools and only the members of the groups can see this. If you don't want your students to be able to create their own little private study groups, you want to turn that feature off. So let's go and create a group now and show you what I'm talking about. I'm going to create just one single group. I've two options. I can create a group and not have anybody in it and the students can then choose whether or not they want to join this group, or I can create a manual enroll group.
That means that I'm going to add the students to this group. I control it. Let's do that. So I'm going to call this Manual Enroll Group. I can type in a description if I want to. Is this going to be available to the students? Yes or No, it's up to me. And then within this group and only within this group I can give these students certain tools that are going to be private to them. In other words, I can give the students their own discussion board, but only the students in this group will be able to see that discussion board.
Well, and me or any other instructor in the course. In this case, I can give the students the ability to create and edit their own private blogs. I mentioned earlier the Blackboard's Blog tool is sort of not really what we think of when we think of a blog tool. It's not visible outside of the course. Well, a group blog is even more closed off. It's only visible to the members of the group and the instructor of the course. So I'm going to turn that off for now. Collaboration gives the students the ability to create a virtual classroom or a whiteboard.
I'm not going to let them do that. I'm going to let them have a discussion board. I'm going to let them email themselves. And Group File Exchange is actually a great feature. It's a way for students who are working together on a same project to upload a file and share it with each other. It's sort of their own private group dropbox. A little aside. If you really miss Blackboard's dropbox, create one group, call it Dropbox, turn on only Group File Exchange, and you've just recreated the dropbox.
Again, anything that's uploaded into the file exchange can be viewed by anybody who was a member of that group. I'm not going to turn on Journals. It's sort of a reflection tool. I'm not going to do Tasks or the My Scholar social bookmarking and I'm not going to do Wikis. Now I'm going to allow the students to change the color scheme of their group's page to move modules around, if they want to add modules. That's fine with me. And now I'm going to start adding a few people. I'm not going to add Jayden Brown. I like Jayden, but I want to show you why I don't want to add him.
I'm going to add like four students here. And I click on Submit. So I've now created a simple group. If I get on the Group page, I can see what it looks like to the students. The students now have access to a file exchange, discussion board, they can send email. Now notice that I didn't actually put Jayden Brown in here. I did that on purpose. I'm going to switch over to Firefox and I'm going to show you what this looks like from Jayden's point of view. You get into Groups and there's nothing there.
If Jayden is not a member of the group, he's not going to see that the group exists. That's actually a really interesting and powerful feature. It keeps the groups private. You can't have students going into other people's groups and seeing what's going on. This is a great way to make sure that the group work that you assign your students, the students aren't cheating off of each other. They are working together as a team. So I've created just one group. Let me get back to the Groups page. Let me show you one other thing. How to create a group set.
Now I can create a self-enroll group, and when I'm creating a group set, it's a number of groups. It's not just one group but multiple groups, and instead of having to go and create it one at a time, I can just say create three or four groups or five groups or n number of groups, and it will create it. I can have it where the students can enroll themselves. I can manually enroll, and new here, I've the ability to randomly enroll. In other words, take certain number of students, I don't care who, put them in one group. Take some others, put them in another group, and I can do that.
I'll click on Random Enroll. Now you might be tempted here to type like Group 1, Group 2, Group 3. You can't do that. What I can do is I can type Group or Study Group, but I can't add the numbers, because that number's going to appear in every group when I create this. The Description is optional. If I want to give instructions on what to do, that's fine. And the rest of the settings pretty much look the same. I'm going to turn off Blogs and Collaboration. I'll leave Discussion Board on.
Leave Email and File Exchange. Turn off Journals, Tasks, My Scholar, Scholar, and Wiki. Allow Personalization. And now I can either have a certain number of groups or I can sit there and say okay, I want to have how many groups it needs where I have three students per group and just go do that. Or I can sit there and say no, I want to have five groups and just evenly distribute the students through the course. In fact, I get to choose what happens with the rest of the people if anybody else comes in or whatever.
I can just basically distribute everybody through the groups. I can put the remaining members in their own group or I can manually add the remaining members to groups. In this case, I'm just going to go three groups and distribute evenly. So now actually in this case I've got six study groups. If I ever need to edit this, for example, if I want to call this Study Group 1, I can edit this, and then call them Study Group 1 or Study Group - Monday. I have the ability to go back and change and edit this at any point in time.
As an instructor I can now see all of my groups. Let me switch back to Jayden's point of view. I click on Groups again. Jayden sees one group and one group alone because Jayden was randomly put into Study Group 5. He gets into Study Group 5. He sees the group members, he has got the file exchange, he has got the group discussion board, he can actually personalize the module, and kind of change things around here. Last thing, let me go back here. We were talking about discussion board earlier and I want to go down here and I want to get into Course Tools and Discussion Boards, and I want to show you why when you click on Course Management > Course Tools > Discussion Board, it doesn't take you into the course discussion board yet.
Remember that each of these groups now have their own discussion board. How do you get access to that? Well, I could go and click into each group, and that's a good way for you to see what's going on in the file exchange. But if you just want to see what's going on in the discussion board, if I click on the Discussion Board link under Course Tools, you're going to see that I have my course discussion, but you're also going to see that I have a discussion board for each and every group that I can access. So that is in a nutshell Blackboard's Group tool.
How to create Blackboard groups. In the next movie, we're going to show you how to change the enrollment of a particular group.
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