Whether your course is a traditional face-to-face lecture or a fully online offering, students can benefit from elements of interactivity with their peers. Adding collaborative tools such as discussion boards, blogs, or wikis, allow you to create interesting assignments that provide students with experiences that help to hone their writing and peer assessment skill sets.
Within Blackboard, you have the ability to create groups of students that have access to their own spaces that allow them to collaborate on coursework. Some groups may only meet in their space to discuss course content or trade files, but you are also able to create assignments that you want them to work collaboratively on--they can access those assignments directly from their group home page.
When creating groups in Blackboard, you'll have the option to create a single group or to create a group set.
Single group allows you to create an individually named group with the option to manually enroll users into the group, or to allow the students to self-enroll into the group of their choice.
Group Sets allow you to create multiple groups at the same time, but they all have same name with a numerical variance (i.e. Discussion Group 1, Discussion Group 2, etc.). Group sets let you manually enroll students within the group, with the option to restrict their membership to only one group, allow students to self-enroll within the groups, or you can have membership randomized.
Discussion boards are used to facilitate student discussions regarding a specific topic or theme within forums that you create. Forums provide a means of asynchronous communication and provide a way for students to communicate amongst each other without having to be in the course at the same time. Discussion boards can also be used to provide students an outlet to create thoughtful and graded posts to which their peers may respond.
In order to use discussion boards, you will need to create the individual forums within your course. After creating the forums, you can link them to your content areas to make it a bit easier for students to access them.
After creating a forum, students can access it by going through Tools > Discussion Board > Forum Name, but you can also provide students a link to the discussion forum right in your content areas.
Please note that this only creates a link to the discussion forum. Any edits you make to the link do NOT affect the actual discussion forum. Discussion forum settings need to be changed separately.
Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with you. Students may also use journals as a self-reflective tool to post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or to discuss and analyze course-related materials.
You can create journal assignments that are learner-centered to enable your students to reflect on the learning process and document changes in their perceptions and attitudes as they progress through course materials. Students can describe problems faced and how they solved them. You can also create instructor-directed journal entries that are more formal in nature and that narrow the focus by listing topics for discussion, to engage students in a targeted dialogue.
You can create one or more journals for your students to use in your course. You must create journal topics before students can add their entries.
The journal topics appear in alphabetical order on the Journals listing page. Select a column title to sort the contents. To learn more, see Journal Topic Page.
Note: You can also add links to journals in course areas, such as content areas and folders. The links have their own set of options, and changing the link options will not change the options on the journal itself.
Blogs are personal online journals that are updated frequently and designed to be shared with others. Often, they allow for commenting, allowing readers to respond to presented ideas and thoughts.
Blogs encourage students to clearly express their ideas. Blogs also address the need to expand various aspects of social learning. From the instructor's point of view, blogs are an effective means of gaining insight into students' activities and provide a way to share the knowledge and materials collected.
In Blackboard Learn, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them. Similar to journals, you can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade.
Blogs consist of two elements:
You can allow students to participate in blogs in three ways:
You have full control over all blogs in your course. You can edit and delete entries in any of the blog types. You can also delete user comments.
Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course related materials, providing a means of sharing and collaboration. Users can create and edit pages quickly, while tracking changes and additions, allowing for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.
All course members can use the wikis tool to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. A course wiki is a vast source of information compiled by course members. Wikis can help build a community of collaboration and learning by increasing social interaction during the exchange of information.
Students use a wiki to collaborate on shared content from different times and locations. They can view previous changes, comment on content or changes, include new content, and revise existing content. Similar to the discussion board, you act as a facilitator instead of the provider of all course content. Unlike a blog, which can be quite personal, wikis require intense collaboration, where information is linked to and built upon.
You can grade student contributions to a wiki or use it solely for course content review. In either instance, a student can contribute multiple pages to a single wiki and make unlimited revisions to pages submitted by any course member. You can also enable the group wiki tool to help groups share and interact.
You can view all changes to all pages in a wiki. You can view the changes at a high level, and you can drill down to see information about contributions by any individual.
Wikis can help course members build a shared repository of knowledge. As the knowledge base grows over time, you can expect the wiki to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.
With dedicated use, you can use wikis for the following educational purposes:
*Provided by Blackboard, Inc.