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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.
Now that you're familiar with Blackboard's layout--the tabs and the modules--the next step is for you to become familiar with your course layout. So let's access a course. Under My Courses, I'm going to click on this course that I'm teaching. It's going to open up the page. The first thing I want you to notice is that at the very top of the screen, that sort of red bar, that sort of stays the same as what we've seen earlier. Now, the one thing I want you to notice here, down the left-hand side you've got this course menu. This course menu is actually one of the most powerful tools, and we'll spend a lot of time talking about this.
The big thing to remember here is that it's completely customizable. We'll talk about that next chapter. But this is what the students click on to access your course content, and for the most part, this is what you click on to add content, unlike earlier versions of Blackboard where you had to go to a control panel to add content. In Blackboard 9 and 9.1, to add information or content, click on where you want to put it. So if I actually want to add content to the course, I am going to click on Content and then add the content there.
One other thing to notice about this course menu is there are boxes here to the right where it says Information and Content and if I hold my mouse over it, it says, "This link has no content," just to make sure that students aren't seeing content areas that are empty. As long as an area is empty, Blackboard automatically hides it from the students. However, once you add content to one of these areas, Blackboard will automatically make it available to the students. So empty items are automatically hidden from the students, and you can also manually hide menu items under Contents. We'll talk more about that at the beginning of the next chapter.
One thing I want to show you at the very top of the course menu. You've got different views. By default, we're in a list view, but to the right of it there is a button and if I click on it, it opens up a folder view. This folder view will actually allow me to expand or collapse a tree structure and show me all the files that are within my course site at once. I can also click on this little button here, which is Display Course menu in a Window, and it opens it up in a pop-up menu, and I can get in the information that way. I usually spend most of my time in the list view.
One other thing to point out-- let me click here on the Home Page. So we've got the navigation, this course menu on the left-hand side. This right-hand side where it says Home Page, that's sort of the content frame, and this is where the content goes. So if I click on Information, I've got an information content frame. If I click on Content, I've got a content frame. Let me click back on the homepage, and you might notice that in this case the course home is our default course entry page. Now your system administrator may change that, and in fact, you can change that.
We'll show you how to do that in the next chapter. There are some modules on this page. Some of them you've seen before, some of them are new. I am going to scroll down and actually see, there is a What's New module. What's New shows you submitted assignments, tasks, discussion board posts, and there is a button here I want to point out. Anytime you're in Blackboard and you see a button with two downward-facing chevrons, that always means either edit or more--in this case more--and it shows me that I have the option to expand or collapse the list of the assignments, tasks, or discussion board posts that my students have turned in.
The other thing I want to point out is there is a To Do module here, and this one causes a lot of confusion. The To Do module is for students only. It will always be blank for instructors, because To Do only shows you what you need to do in order to earn a grade in the class, in other words, when you have to submit an assignment or take a test or post a discussion board post. In other words, the To Do list is always going to be blank for faculty members and instructors, simply because it only shows what you need to do to earn a grade in your course.
As an instructor, you don't have to do anything to earn a grade. You don't have to take a test or submit an assignment. Therefore, your To Do module is always, always going to be empty. I can also, on this page, because these are modules, I can move the modules around, just like I could on the My Institution tab. I can add a course module. I can actually change the custom color on the page, the color palette. This works just like the My Institution tab. I also want to show you that I've got something here. I've got the name of my course, and it shows me that I'm on the course home- page, and this is called the breadcrumb trail.
The breadcrumb trails, as you navigate deeper into your Blackboard course, Blackboard is going to show you where you are in your site with this breadcrumb trail. And you can click on the links in this breadcrumb trail to bounce up the chain. Or in this case, if I click on the name of the course on the far left-hand side of this breadcrumb trail, it takes me back to whatever my default course entry page is, in this case the homepage. We're going to talk about the Edit Mode switch in the next movie.
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