Content areas are the areas in your course in which you will store the course materials. By default every new course shell should include the content areas for Course Introduction and Course Content, but you may want to add a few more yourself.
After you add your materials to the content area, you should make sure that you open it to the students. If a content area is closed, then students will be unable to access the items even if you provide a link to them somewhere else in the course.
To Make a Content Area Available
Created within your content areas, content items provide a field in which you can use the text editor to provide a combination of text, hyperlinks, multimedia, insert equations, links, tables, and even attach files you would like students to access.
Additional Course Content Types
There are a wide array of options for instructors to add compelling content to courses, explore them further:
You can create a link to a file in the content list. You can't add a description with the link, so you want to be sure to use a meaningful title. For example, include "Syllabus" in the title. You can choose whether students view the file as a page within the course or in a separate window or tab. Students need to download some file types such as Word docs to view the contents. This content type saves screen real estate and reduces the amount of scrolling.
|Audio||You can upload multimedia files from your computer or browse the course's file repository: Course Files or the Content Collection.|
|Web Link||You can link to an outside website or resource.|
|Learning Module||A learning module is a content container that allows students to navigate through the content from a table of contents. You can add all types of content, such as content items, file attachments, links to websites, tests, assignments, and multimedia.|
|Lesson Plan||A lesson plan is a content container that holds the content items students need to complete a lesson. You can also add lesson profiles, instructional objectives, required materials, and more.|
|Syllabus||You can attach an existing syllabus file or build a course syllabus through a series of steps.|
|Course Link||You can create a shortcut to an item, tool, or area in your course for quick access to relevant materials.|
|Content Package (SCORM)||You can add web-based learning content called an SCO or Shareable Content Object. These SCOs are gathered together into a compressed, zipped file called a content package. The zipped file can be unpackaged and played through a content player. Typically, individual components or entire packages are provided to you by schools, private companies, or other sources.|
|Content Folder||You can organize content in folders and sub-folders. Use folders to reduce scrolling and help students find materials easily.|
|Module Page||A module page is a specialized content page that presents content in boxes, such as on a course Home Page. Students can keep track of tasks, tests, assignments, and new content created in the course. You can't add your own content to a module page. The system generates the information in each module.|
You can include files, images, and text together on one page. With the editor, you have creative control over how your content appears and the flexibility to change the order and appearance when you want.
|Mashups||You can use mashups to browse for and add social media elements from other websites.|
You can add a banner image to appear at the top of the course entry point. The banner image is automatically centered.
To change the entry point, navigate to Select Banner
Use Browse My Computer to locate an image file on your computer. You can't use images stored in the Content Collection or Course Files. However, a copy is stored there with each new upload. If you delete the image from the course entry page, the image file remains in the course's file repository in the main folder.
A recommended size for banners is approximately 480 by 80 pixels.
When you choose a banner image, keep in mind that users can resize their browser windows, expand and collapse the course menu, and use monitors of varying sizes and screen resolutions. After you upload a banner, view it under those conditions to be sure that it appears as intended.
Assignments are used to provide an area for students to submit their homework such as essays or other documents that you will later grade. Students can upload a wide variety of files to the assignment dropbox, so assignments do not have to be limited to just text entries. Please see here for a full list of supported file types.
Navigate to your course's Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests
When you have added all the questions you need, select OK. The test is added to the list on the Tests page and is ready to make available to students
After creating an assessment, you will need to make sure to deploy it in an area of your course that students have access to. Deploying an assessment just means that you create a link to it and set a few of your desired options.
To Add an Assessment to a Content Area
You have many options when developing your tests--here are a few recommendations to help guide your choices:
1. Select Yes to Open test in new window
While the answer is defaulted to No, selecting yes will give students more screen real estate and less distraction when taking an online exam. If you do not set the test to open in a new window, the student's screen will show the course menu while compressing the exam to fit in the space saved for content areas.
2. Always select Yes to Make the link available
This option must be selected for students to have access to the exam. If you are deploying an exam, but don't want students to access it right away, you should still select yes and then set the availability dates in the lower set of options.
3. Set a timer and turn auto-submit on
Timers are important as they limit how much time students have while taking an online exam and makes the online exams more aligned with their face-to-face counterparts. Timers are set to countdown the moment a student begins an assessment and continue to tick down--even if a student closes it early. With auto-submit turned on, exams are automatically saved and submitted to the Grade Center after the time has expired. If auto-submit is off, students may continue working on the exam and Blackboard will force you to manually grade the test attempt yourself.
4. Test Availability Exceptions can be used to accommodate special requirements
If teaching a course you may have students that require additional time during assessments. Instead of creating a new exam for them, simply add the users under test availability exceptions and change any options (e.g. timer) to fit their needs.
5. Set a Due Date to add the test to student calendars
Any assessment or assignment you create with a due date is now automatically added to your students' calendars on Blackboard. These can serve as a wonderful reminder for students and it only takes a few seconds to set.
6. Show test results and feedback to students
Students want to know how they did, but it is up to you to decide how much information they are given. By default, students are only given the score they received, but you can also choose to show them the test answers, what they submitted, question feedback, and even have Blackboard mark which questions they got wrong. More information on test and feedback options.
7. Show the questions all at once, and randomize the questions
Presenting exam questions one at a time limits students from being able to review their exam prior to submission--a function that can be very helpful for online student. While there may be some instances where it is appropriate to limit the exam to one question at a time (e.g. preparing for a professional licensing exam that only shows one question at a time), more often than not it is best to show all the questions at once.
Item Analysis is a report Blackboard can generate that evaluates how students answered individual questions on an exam and can be used to identify questions that are too easy, too hard, or are simply confusing. Item analysis can be used to indicate specific areas of your course that may need additional content or clarification.
Run an Item Analysis
Using the performance dashboard, you can easily see all types of user activity in your course. You're able to view the activity for all users in your course, including teaching assistants and students, to allow you to keep a pulse on their progress.
You can access the Performance Dashboard by visiting your course shell > Control Panel > Evaluation > Performance Dashboard:
The Performance Dashboard will show you various types of information:
You can select Print to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. You can sort columns as needed.