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Blackboard “hub” courses for Teaching Block 2, 2016-17

Blackboard is based around taught units, with a single Blackboard course being created for every taught unit that is running in the current year. Occasionally, staff may require a Blackboard course that has students from more than one taught unit on it (in addition to the normal courses). If you had a course like this – called a “hub” course – in the previous academic year (2015-16), and you will need it again this year, please fill in a hub course roll over request form. If you have a definite need for a new course like this, please fill in a new hub course creation request form.

Setup

Once the form is completed, your new hub course will be created in 3-5 working days. You will be sent an email when it is ready.

Students: Those who are registered for any of the units identified on the form will be automatically enrolled into the hub course. Students that register for those units later will also be enrolled onto the hub course, 3-5 working days after their registration in SITS.

Staff: As the hub course requester, you are automatically added to the hub course as an Instructor, along with any other staff that you list on the form.

Content

The hub course will be a copy of the “main” unit course in the list you submitted via the form (unless you specify otherwise). In future years, the hub course will be a copy of the previous year’s hub course.

Single-unit courses

Your normal single-unit courses will still be on Blackboard, and you may make them available to your students in addition to your hub course. There are a number of University tools that only work (or work best) in the single-unit courses, which include:

  • eReserves
  • Mediasite
  • Library reading lists
  • Online submission of essays (particularly when this is part of a school-wide process)

Tidying up your single-unit courses

If you make the single-unit courses available, and if they contain content, then you need to hide that from your students to avoid confusing them with duplicate materials. The easiest way is to hide whole menu items is:

  • Move your mouse over the menu item and click on the drop-down arrow
  • Click “Hide link”

It is also good practice to add an announcement to the single-unit courses, telling students that the materials are held in the hub course and letting them know what you will be using the single-unit courses for (eg accessing eReserves).

Switching on the courses

Finally, you will want to make the courses available for your students. Use Qwickly to do this.

Problems using the Edge browser with Blackboard

It has come to our attention that students are experiencing difficulties when uploading submissions to Blackboard when using the Edge browser in Windows 10. Blackboard are aware of the problem and are working on a fix but our current advice is to use another browser (Chrome, IE, or Firefox).

 

Hub Courses – need to know

Rationale

Blackboard is based around SITS units, with a single Blackboard course being created for every SITS unit that is running in the current year. Sometimes staff may require a Blackboard course that has students from more than one SITS unit on it (in addition to the normal SITS units). If you want a course like this, please fill in a  “hub course” request form.

Setup

Once the form is completed, your new hub course will be created in 3-5 working days (more at start of term). You will be sent an email when it is ready.

Students: Those who are enrolled on any of the SITS units included on the form will be automatically enrolled onto the hub course. Students that enroll in those units later will also be enrolled onto the hub course, 3-5 working days after their enrollment on SITS.

Staff: As the hub course requester, you are automatically added to the hub course as an Instructor, with the ability to add other staff. To add other staff (instructions from Blackboard):

  • In the control panel in the hub course, Click on “Users and Groups”, then “Users”
  • Click the blue button “Find other users to enrol”
  • If you know your colleagues’ user names, put them in the user name box (otherwise use the “Browse” button to search for them by name)
  • Set the role to “Instructor” (or whatever level of access you want them to have)
  • Click “Submit”

Content

The hub course will be a copy of the first unit course in the list you submitted via the form. So if you submitted THRS10034, THRS20102, and PHIL20052, it will be a copy of THRS10034_2015. In future years, the hub course will be a copy of the previous year’s hub course.

SITS unit courses

Your normal SITS courses will still be on Blackboard, and you may make them available to your students in addition to your hub course. There are a number of University tools that only work (or work best) in the SITS courses, which include:

  • eReserves
  • Lecture capture recordings
  • Library reading lists
  • Online submission of essays (particularly when this is part of a school-wide process)

Tidying up your SITS courses

If you switch on the SITS courses, and if they contain content, then you need to hide that from your students to avoid confusing them with duplicate materials. The easiest way is to hide whole menu items is:

  • Move your mouse over the menu item and click on the drop-down arrow
  • Click “Hide link”

It is also good practice to add an announcement to the SITS courses, telling students that the materials are held in the hub course and letting them know what you will be using the SITS courses for (eg accessing eReserves).

Switch on the courses

Finally, you will want to switch on the courses for your students. Use Qwickly to do this.

How to add your Blackboard calendar to Google calendar

You can add your Blackboard calendar to Google as follows:

  1. Click on your name in the top right of Blackboard
  2. Click on the calendar icon
  3. In the bottom left of the Calendar you will see a link called “Get External calendar link”. Click on this
  4. Copy the link (Ctrl + C  or Cmd + C for Mac)
  5. Open your Google calendar
  6. Under “Other calendars” on the left click the drop down arrow
  7. Choose “Add by URL” and paste in the link (Ctrl + V or Cmd + V for Mac), then click “Add Calendar”
  8. Please note the calendar name may appear initially as a long URL (web address) , but this will then change to University of Bristol.
  9. You may wish to change the Calendar name “University of Bristol” e.g. to Blackboard . To do this click the dropdown to the right of the calendar and select Calendar settings, then edit the name and Save.

Please note that any editing of events has to be done in Blackboard.

Qwickly

Qwickly, on your Blackboard home page, gives instructors access to two tools –

1) Course Availability – With one click you can manage the visibility of courses to your students. By switching the status from Off to On the course is instantly visible to the students enrolled. This saves you having to go in to the course control panel of each course and updating the availability.

Please note that this controls the settings for visibility to all students not your own view of Blackboard.

2) Post Announcement – Using this tool you can send the same announcement to more than one course. Select the courses you wish to post the announcement, type the message, select email if required and submit. This will then be posted in all of the selected courses. At the current time the tool only allows for text only announcements and there is no ability to attach files.

If you have any feedback about this tool or any questions please email tel-help@bristol.ac.uk

 

New academic year Blackboard activity

The new academic year has begun, and many students are eagerly trying to access their courses on Blackboard. When we rolled the SITS-linked courses over from last year, we made them unavailable to students, so that staff could make any changes they wanted to before releasing them to a new cohort. Once a course is ready for students to use, you should ensure that it is made available to them, as follows:

  • Click on the course
  • Under Control Panel, click on Customisation
  • Click on Properties
  • In section 3, Set availability, select Yes
  • Click Submit.

Your course is now available to the enrolled students.

You can also do this faster, for multiple courses at once, by using the new “Qwickly” module on the Home tab:

  • Click “Course Availability”
  • Click the On/Off button next to the correct course.

Note that SITS-linked 2014-15 courses are still available to both staff and students – this is a change from previous years where they have been made unavailable.  If you wish to stop your students having access to previous years courses for any reason, simply make them unavailable using the method above.

One other thing you will want to do is organise your courses by year (so you don’t accidentally edit the old courses) fortunately this can be done in a couple of clicks –

Move your mouse to the top right of the My Courses box on your Blackboard home page and click on the small cog wheel icon. On the page that opens, under “1. Terms”, tick “Group by Term”, then click on “Submit”. Note that you can also choose which courses and terms you want displayed, and whether you want to see course names, course IDs, or both. (Here is a 45-second video on how to use group courses using terms.)

Staff – new to Blackboard?

Staff – new to Blackboard?
Look at our quick start guide or Help for Instructors for more detail. Both of these, and further guides can also be found on the Help Tab in Blackboard.

Why can’t my student(s) see my course in Blackboard?

All units and programmes are automatically created as courses in Blackboard, and all students automatically enrolled, based on the registration data held in SITS. If some students can’t see a particular course in Blackboard:

• First, check the course is available. If under “My courses” on your Blackboard Home page you see “unavailable” after the course, this means the course is unavailable to students.  To make it available, follow the instructions in ‘What does course “unavailable” mean and how can I make a course available?’

• Second, if the course IS available, check the student is enrolled on it. Go into the course, and in the Control Panel, click Users and Groups, then Users. Change the middle search box to “Not blank” and click on Go. Search for their name in the list. If the student is not enrolled, they should check if they are registered for it in My Students.  If  you need to manually enrol a student see  ‘How do I enrol a student on my course?’

Why can’t I see a Blackboard course for a unit I am teaching?

All units and programmes are automatically created as courses in Blackboard, and all students automatically enrolled, based on the registration data held in SITS. However, staff are not automatically enrolled, since staffing data is not centrally available.

Any Instructor on a course can enrol another Instructor onto that course, and local Blackboard System Administrators can do the same – so please check if a colleague can enrol you. Instructions on how to enrol an Instructor are in this FAQ.

If another Instructor or a local Blackboard System Administrator cannot enrol you, please email tel-help@bristol.ac.uk and ask to be enrolled as an Instructor, giving the unit ID.

Controlling display of course listings in “My Courses”

Since 2012 previous year’s versions of SITS unit courses have been automatically retained on Blackboard, so staff and students can have easy access to these where appropriate.

Following the annual course roll-over at the start of August, you will be able to see previous as well as current versions of unit courses, clearly identified by a year suffix in the course ID and name, eg:

Course ID                           Course name
BIOL11000                          Biology 1A Diversity of Life 11_12
BIOL11000_2012_13          Biology 1A: Diversity of Life 12_13
BIOL11000_2013                Biology 1A: Diversity of Life 2013
BIOL11000_2014                Biology 1A: Diversity of Life 2014

BIOL11000_2015                Biology 1A: Diversity of Life 2015

 

This year all 2014 courses will by default remain available to students – in previous years staff could make the courses available to students if they wished. 

Staff can easily make multiple courses unavailable to students, if required, using the Qwickly tool on their Blackboard home page.

Staff and students can choose to group each year’s courses under separate headings in the “My Courses” box on your Blackboard Home tab. To do this, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Move your mouse to the top right of the My Courses box on your Blackboard home page and click on the small cog wheel icon.
  2. On the page that opens, under “1. Terms”, tick “Group by Term”
  3. Note that you can also choose which courses and terms you want displayed, and whether you want to see course names, course IDs, or both.
  4. When you have finished click “Submit”
  5. Here is a 25-second video on how to use group courses using terms.