Digital Learning: Blackboard
Blackboard is the college's Learning Management System (LMS). It functions at the central location where faculty can post instructional materials, assessments, and learning activities. Students also access courses in Blackboard to view this material, interact with classmates, and complete online assessments.
The following technical resources provide guidance on using all key elements of the Blackboard system.
Building Your Course & Administration
These resources will help you get started with your Bb course as you start your design. Remember to "chunk" your content into modules to promote cognitive presence (i.e., clear instructions with curated content) and avoid cognitive overload (i.e., giving too much information at once is confusing for students).
The Blackboard Grade Center is the central location for recording, calculating, and sharing grades.
Erin Kehoe, Professor, Early Childhood Education (online) - Kingston
"Engaging students and creating relationships is essential in an online environment. The communication tools in Blackboard allow me to connect with my students quickly and frequently. They also allow students to practice Essential Employability Skills (EES) and online professionalism. At the beginning of a course, I have students use the ‘Email’ tool to send me a professional email using specific netiquette criteria. This connects me with each student individually, while establishing program expectations right from the start. I also like to post weekly announcements and Panopto videos using the ‘Announcement’ tool. This highlights key learning objectives, reminders, and answers to questions. These announcements are posted in the Blackboard course and sent directly to students’ email. The Blackboard communication tools are quick, user-friendly, and provide wonderful opportunities for on-going engagement and connection with students."
Whether you are teaching a face-to-face, alternative delivery, or full online courses - it's important to use a consistent communication strategy. Use these tools to maintain a strong teaching presence within your course.
Diversify your assessment strategy by using multiple tools to provide formative and summative feedback to students. Review the Teaching Resources to learn how to design effective rubrics before you build them in Blackboard.
Benoit Veilleux, Professor, Social Service Worker - Cornwall
"...the way we used Blackboard was a real game changer in Intervention Strategies (SSWO3). More specifically, students were able to complete and submit their video intervention through Panopto. This method and technology offered more options for video tapping and assured students a stronger level of confidentiality in handling and submitting their work. As well, students were able to submit their paperwork directly through Blackboard, enhancing my abilities to review, assess and provide them with direct and prompt feedback."
Developing a social presence can be done by creating ways for students to collaborate online. Consider creating a simple discussion forum to facilitate an ice-breaker discussion or host an ongoing "Question & Answer" are for students to interact.
Derek Davies, Professor, Community and Justice Services Program - Kingston
"Using a Discussion Forum in Blackboard definitely has the potential to deliver an active, high-quality learning experience that engages individuals. Recently, I had a Guest Lecturer join my class to add an additional layer to the specific content that was being explored. Following this, I opened up a Discussion Forum that consisted of simple and concrete questions for students to reflect upon their experience with the Guest Lecturer and apply their learning. Some of these questions were "What was the biggest takeaway for you and why was this," as well as "What is something that you could try right away in supporting individuals that are struggling in the Community and Justice Services field after taking part in the Guest Lecturer Appearance. Kolb's Reflective Model was used as a basis for setting this experience up. I set it up in a way that students needed to complete their entry first, and then they were able to view other entries. A requirement of this Discussion Forum was that they needed to interact, connect, provide feedback to other students, and question in a professional manner at least three times with separate individuals. I ensured that I started the process with the first few students as an exemplar and then students took the lead after this and the peer to peer learning was active, high-quality, and engaging. This left me feeling proud of my students and it was a great opportunity to give them some great feedback that I saw as a motivating factor for them moving forward on other platforms and assignments."