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When you log in to Blackboard, at the top of each page will be a series of tabs and sub-tabs. Now, your institution can customize these tabs, their locations. In this case, we have got our tabs on the left-hand side, but some institutions put them over on the right side. Some put them in the middle of the screen. They can also customize the colors. They can even customize the words that appear on the tabs. And depending on what options your institution is licensed, your institution can also create their own tabs, like say a tab for the Library or for Blackboard help.
In this case, we are going to focus on two main tabs here: there's My Institution and there's Courses. My Institution is a leftmost tab, regardless where the tabs are located on your screen, and it's usually the tab that opens by default when you log in to Blackboard. Some institutions choose not to call this My Institution. They may call it home or something like that. Or I might want to say of My State University. However, I probably don't want to do that if My State University has a mystateuniversity.edu web portal.
So we have got a tab here called My Institution, whatever it's called in your institution doesn't really matter. It's going to be the default home tab when you get into Blackboard and on this tab you're going to notice that there are some modules. These are boxes that contain common tools that you'll be using within your course. You will be using these and your students will be using them. So we've got the Tools panel, Common Tools. We've got My Announcements, My Calendar, My Courses--that shows you all the courses in which you are enrolled--and then My Organizations.
Your institution also has the ability to completely customize this. They can change where these modules appear. They can change the colors. They can also actually create their own modules. So your screen may look a little different than this, but that's okay. The other thing I want to show you is I have got a sub-tab here called Notifications Dashboard. Let me click on that. Some institutions leave this on; others turn it off. This is a sub-tab and it's available if your institution licenses the Blackboard Community System. There are four modules, or boxes, on this page that give you information.
Needs Attention tells you about assignments, tests, surveys that your students have submitted. Alerts really only works if you use Blackboard's Early Warning System. That's really a topic for a more advanced Blackboard title. What's New shows you submitted assignments, tests, discussion board posts. To Do is always going to be blank for instructors because there's nothing for you to do as an instructor to earn a grade in the class. To Do is these are things I have to do to earn a grade.
You aren't going to get a grade in this course, so there's never any assignment you have to turn in or submit, or homework that you have to turn in for a grade. You are the one who is doing the grading, so your To Do list is always going to be empty. So that's the My Institution tab. Let me show you another tab. There is something called Courses. Courses is pretty much only course information. There's a Course Search box. There's a list of courses you're teaching. Some institutions have a course catalog. This is very much like the My Institution tab without any of the extra modules.
It's only the things you need to know about courses. You'll notice here, by the way, I have one more tab. It's called Community. This is optional. Not every institution is going to have this, but if your institution licenses the Blackboard Community System this is a way for you to access non-course course sites, and that may sound a little confusing, but think like a Blackboard course, but not for an academic course, but rather for a committee or a club. This is actually a feature that your institution has to license from Blackboard to be able to make this available.
Let me go back to the My Institution tab. The other thing I want to show you--this is true throughout the system--is this top bar. This remains the same for most tabs, even when you're within your course, although there is a setting your institution could use to minimize this bar a little bit inside of your courses. And the top left-hand thing in the top bar is the logo and in fact, if you click on the logo or the name of your school, pretty likely it's going to take you back to the main page for your Blackboard login. Or once you are logged in, it'll actually take you to My Institution tab.
Next thing over is your name. Now, some institutions may show your name; some institutions do not. If you don't see your name here, that's not a big thing. It's perfectly fine if it's missing. Next thing over is My Places. If I click on My Places, it actually opens up a little pop-up window. My Places allows you to do a few things. For example, you can change the default text size or contrast settings for your browser and for what displays on your screen. Some campuses will allow you to edit your own personal information. Click on this and check. If you have questions about it, check with your institution's help desk. And it also shows you a list of all of your courses.
So not only are you going to be able to see your courses through My Courses or the Courses tab, it also shows up through My Places. The other thing we've got up here in this top bar is a Home tab, and it's just like clicking on the State University logo--it just takes you back to My Institution. Depends on how your institution is set up. Help is actually going to probably take you to your institution's help page for Blackboard. Or it will take you blackboard.com and their help pages. And then finally, Logout while actually log you out of the system.
So the big thing to remember is that when you log in to Blackboard at the top of each page will be a series of tabs and sub-tabs, and to return back to the Home tab from anywhere within Blackboard, you can click on the My Institution tab, you can click on the logo for your school, or you can click on Home.
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