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Besides posting announcements, you can also communicate with your students, and basically anybody else in your course, using email through Blackboard. Now there are multiple ways to access Blackboard's email tools. I am going to show you sort of an old way to do this. We'll show you some other ways in future classes. I want to let my students know that I'm going to cancel class next week. So I'm going to get into the course that I'm canceling, which is going to be by Educational Technology class. Now down on the bottom left-hand side under Course Management, I see a bunch of links, and one of them is Course tools.
If I click on Course tools, I see a whole bunch of tools, including Announcements, but I'm going to scroll down a little further, and I am going to click on Send Email. Now, when I click on Send Email, Send Email is going to say, okay, well, if you want to send an email, who do you want to send it to? I've got several options. I can choose everyone in the course. I can choose anybody who is in a group in a course. I can choose just the students or the teaching assistant. Pretty self- explanatory what's going on. The email addresses that Blackboard users usually come from your institution.
They are populated when the user created. Students may have the ability to update their email addresses by clicking on My Places at the top of the screen. We'll talk about that in a future movie. Check with your institution on what their email policy is, just to make sure where the email addresses are coming from. In this case, I am going to send the email message to everybody in my class letting them know that I am canceling class next week. And you are going to see that it's going to open up what looks like pretty much a web mail, although the email addresses are blank, and that's by default.
Blackboard won't show you the email addresses, just the names of the students. It does show you your email address. In this case, my address is a fake email address. I am going to type in my message that class is canceled, and let the students know that class is canceled this week. Notice that this is plain text. I don't have the formatting that I had earlier when I was making an announcement. And the reason why is email should be plain text. You want to make sure that it reaches the most number of recipients. So, keeping out all the extra formatting just makes sure that your message is going to be distributed to as wide an audience as possible.
Underneath this message box, I've got a little box here that says Return Receipt. If I click on Return Receipt, what it's going to do is when the students open up my email message, their email program is going to prompt them to say, hey, you've just opened this up; do you want me to inform your instructor that you've read this email message? This sounds like a really great idea. You can kind of guarantee that your students have read your email messages. However, it's completely opt-in from the students. The students can open up the message. Their email program is going to say, "Your instructor wants to know that you've opened this email message.
Do you want your instructor to know?" And you can say, "No, I don't want my instructor to know." Because it's an opt-in honor system, Return Receipt sounds like a great idea, but I just never use it. The other thing I never ever do in a Blackboard email is attach a file. Attaching a file is always, always a bad idea. There are some really overzealous spam filters out there that will automatically kill anything that has an attachment to it. You want to make sure your message gets to all your students, so keeping attachments off is a really good idea.
The other thing is, if you send a file as an email attachment, students are going to accidentally delete that email file, and then they are going to contact you and say, 'can you email me that file again?', and to keep you from having to deal with that, remember, Blackboard stores files; post your file to Blackboard somewhere in your course and then tell your students where to find it. So in this case, I have got a message. I am going to send it to everybody in my course. The subject is that class is canceled. I've got my message. It's plain text. I'm not going to do Return Receipt. It's just not going to be as happy as I think it's going to be.
I am not going to do an attachment. I am going to click on Submit. Now if this works well, you'll get a box saying congratulations, it's been sent successfully. In his case, because I have got some fake email addresses in this, I am going to get an error message, but it's actually going to be a pretty error message. It says, "An error or warning occurred while sending this email. Some or all recipients may not receive the message." That usually means that there's at least one bad email address somewhere in your roster. So, to send an email message in Blackboard to anybody in your course, or to select people in your course, click on the name of your course under My Courses, then in the Course Management area click on Send Email, choose the recipients that you want to send your email message to--in this case All Users.
Type in a subject--obviously that's required. Type in the message. I recommend leaving Return Receipt off and Attachments blank and click on Submit. Now one thing to keep in mind: when I click on Submit, the message has sent out, but Blackboard doesn't keep a copy of this. Remember that you are going to need to check your email inbox to see any messages that were sent from your Blackboard course.
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