We are now a couple of weeks into testing the upgraded Blackboard for NUIG, which will be available to all staff and students by the middle of July (dates to be confirmed).
The upgraded version will look fresh and uncluttered, while still containing the same, familiar features. There are also a number of improvements that we think you are going to like.
In the first of 2 posts, here are three improved features that we really like.
New Content Editor
A lot of people have experienced difficulties when adding text to Blackboard, particularly if you are trying to cut and paste from another application (such as Word). It affects content items, announcements, email from Blackboard, tests and surveys. The good news is that the new version of Blackboard has a much improved content editor, which allows cut and paste, and also brings new ways to make your Blackboard course attractive to students. There’s also a new Maths editor, which may be of use – let us know.
For more information see Using the Content Editor.
The new calendar feature in Blackboard allows any user to see a full calendar of events across all courses in which he is enrolled. An instructor on a course can add events, such as lectures, seminars, meetings, guest speakers, to the calendar, which are then visible to all course members. Due dates associated with assignments will automatically be added to the calendar. A student can then see at a glance what is happening in any particular week. It’s also possible to export the calendar to (for example) google calendar.
For more information see Blackboard Calendar.
New Discussion Boards
If you were already using discussion boards on Blackboard, you’ll know that they are a little dated and clumsy to find your way around. The improved discussion boards let you see all the posts in a thread, although this can be collapsed. When you reply to a post, the new content editor opens in the same page, so you can still see what you’re replying to.
Also, a new post-first optional setting means you can force students to make their own contribution before seeing the responses from other students. This is a useful feature if you’re interested in getting original contributions from the class group.
For more information see Discussion Board.