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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 add an empty content folder to a content area within your Blackboard course, click the content area and then click Build Content > Content Folder. Now, before you upload anything to your Blackboard course that you want to give to your students--it could be a PowerPoint presentation, a Microsoft Word file or Adobe Acrobat file-- please, please, please, take a moment to figure out how you want to organize that content. From a student's point of view, nothing is more frustrating than clicking on the content area in a Blackboard course and seeing a huge, completely unorganized laundry list of files, a big document dump from the instructor, because it's almost impossible, from students' point of view, to find the single file that student needs to be able to get ready for the next class.
In chapter 4, we showed you how to add a new content area to the Course menu. In this movie, we're going to look at how to create folders within an already- existing content area. In this case, we're going to do it in the Information content area. So I click on Information, and what I want to do is I want to click on Build Content and I'm going click on Content Folder. By the way, if you're running Blackboard 9 instead of Blackboard 9.1, you'd click on Build > Create Folder. Here in Blackboard 9.1, it's Content Area > Build Content, and then Content Folder.
So I'm going to click on that, and it's going to ask me to type in a name, and this is where I need to start thinking about how I'm going to organize my content. I can organize it by content type. I could have a handouts folder, a readings folder, an assignments folder, an audio file folder. I could do it chronologically, week 1, week 2, unit 1, and unit 2. I could do it by subject, by behavioral theories, developmental theories, cognitive theories. It's really completely up to you. In this case I'm going to do Week 1. Just click Week 1 and let's scroll down here.
The name is required. I can change the color of this name as it appears on the page, but you know, OK, wow, that's exciting. The text box here, completely optional, but I can say, "These are the Week 1 files," scroll down even further. And now I've got a couple of options. First of all, do I want my students to be able to see this? And the answer is almost always going to be yes. You could create it now and say no, make it available later, but now I think in this case, yeah, I want my students to be able to get into the folder and see the contents.
Do I want to track the number of views? In this case, I want to say yes. Blackboard has the ability for me to go back later and see who viewed my files, who viewed my folders, who viewed my content, and get some really detailed statistics. This is actually really helpful if the student wants to challenge a grade. You can go back into Blackboard and you can track how much the student actually interacted with your Blackboard course site. You also have the ability here to do date and time restrictions, so you are going to have this folder come up at a certain date and time and disappear at a certain date and time.
Always do these in pairs. If you're going to have a Display After, always set a Display Until. If you're going to have a Display Until, always set a Display After. In this case, this is course content, so I'm not going to change this at all. I'm going to just do Week 1 and leave it at that and click on Submit. I've now created a Week 1 folder. It says Enabled Statistics Tracking. Well, it turns out it's only going to show that for me if I actually turn Edit Mode off. I'm in Student Mode, and you can actually see what the students see. Now, the folder right now is empty.
There is nothing in it, but I can go back in the breadcrumb trail, get back to the Information folder, turn Edit Mode back on. Let me create a Week 2 folder just for fun. So I'm going to build content, create a new content folder, I'll call it Week 2, and say, "These are the Week 2 files." I do you want to turn on the Track Number of Views. I'm going to come back and get that information later. Click on Submit, and I have now created two folders within the Information content area.
By the way, notice that the Information content area is no longer hidden, because there's content in it--even though they are empty folders--that's now been viewed by the students. This content area here has no content, so it's still being hidden from the students. Two more things I want to show you. Notice that to the left of this Week 2, in the folder, there is just up-and-down arrow. Just like with the course menu, I can click and hold this and I can actually reorganize this. So I might want to think of putting the Week 1 folder first in the first week and then second week put the second week folder and just keep reorganizing each week--completely up to me. You can do that.
Last thing I want to show you is to the right of each of these folders, there is a little button with two downward-facing chevrons. In Blackboard, that always means edit or more--in this case it is edit. I'm going to click on this and if I ever need to make a change, I can go back here and choose Edit. I can go back and see the statistics, so I can actually view the statistics for this item. I can see the users progress through it. I can copy it. I can move it. But if I ever need to edit, I'm going to click the button with the two downward- facing chevrons and then click Edit.
So remember, to create an empty folder within a content area, within your Blackboard course, click on Build Content and then Content Folder. Or if you're in Blackboard 9, click on Build > Create Folder. In the next movie, we're going to show you how to put content within the folders.
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