Category: Blackboard

How to Create Your Blackboard HomePage

From CUNY Academic Commons

You might want to print out these directions, so you will have them in front of you as you proceed.

  1. Click the Tools button (on the bottom of the buttons) and choose Edit Your Homepage.
  2. In the Introduction box, write an introduction to yourself. (Don’t tell us your name; that’s obvious). Imagine that one of us is meeting you for the first time and has just introduced himself or herself to you and now it’s your turn to do the same.
  3. In the Personal Information box, tell us everything you’d like us to know about you. (For example, you might want to describe your age, family, cultural background, academic major, current job, personal and professional goals, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing. [Remember that only your classmates and I will ever read this.] Write as much detail as you can about everything you think your readers might want to know.
  4. Before you load your photo, make sure it’s a jpeg file, that it shows you only, and that it is no larger than 150 pixels in length OR in width. Then “Browse” to where the photo is saved (unless you strongly do not want to load a photo) and click it.
  5. Enter the name and URL of your favorite sites. If you have a Web page on another server, include that URL. Be sure to include http:// in the URL and provide at least a one-sentence explanation of the site.
  6. Click Submit and clickOK. If you forget to click Submit, everything you wrote will be lost and you’ll have to start all over again.
  7. To view a classmate’s HomePage, click the Communication button, click Roster, and click Search. Then click the name of the person whose HomePage you want to view.

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How to Succeed in Working Online

From CUNY Academic Commons

<br>Learning online is a new experience for all of us; however, it is a way of learning that will increase in the future as more institutions and organizations use the Internet for distance education.  This course will enable you to learn where you want and–to a certain extent–when you want.  However, an online course is not easier than a traditionally held classroom course. You have almost full responsibility for learning, so self-discipline, an ability to get things done on time, and a willingness to collaborate with classmates essential to successfully complete this course.

To do well in this course, you must be able and willing to do all of the following:

  • You must have access to the course and your CUNY e-mail from a computer every day and check the Announcements and your Hunter e-mail every day.
  • You need to know how to create and how to cut and paste documents in Word.
  • You need to know how to do Internet searches
  • You must be willing to work in an online group and assume the responsibilities of being an active member of your group.
  • You must make the time to read all the material, write the required responses to the Discussion Board, and do all the other assignments.

To succeed in a Blackboard course, you should:

  • Familiarize yourself as much as possible with our online course. What components are on each button? How do you use them to get to where you want to go?  Find out the course schedule, course requirements, grading criteria, and so forth.
  • Log in to our course on a regular basis.  Most students log in once or twice a day; you’ll find what pattern suits you the best.  Regular attention to the course website allows you to be aware of course updates, progress in conference discussions,  assignment information, and messages requiring immediate attention.
  • Be aware of and keep up with the course schedule. Although this is a distance course, it is designed to provide you with a semester schedule of course units, assignments, conferences, and so forth.  You must adhere to the course schedule in order to benefit from the course material and discussions.
  • Participate in Discussion Board forums and the Course Wiki.  Use them to get to know the other class members and their ideas and you get to share knowledge and learn from classmates.  You will be required to initiate and respond to topic questions, and you should try to add something of value each time you respond to a classmate’s  posting.
  • Fulfill your responsibilities to the groups in which you are placed to the best of your ability. Remember that how well your group does depends on how cooperatively and effectively the group members work together.
  • Contact your classmates and me when you have questions about any aspect of the course. You can also try to post general questions to your class conferences, as fellow class members may have similar questions or else the answers.In those courses that have on-line group work, be sure to fulfill your responsibilities to the best of your ability. Remember, how well your group does depends on all the group members working together cooperatively.
  • Finally remember that the Internet is a public place. Speak and behave as you would in a classroom.

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Instructional Documents for Students

From CUNY Academic Commons



How to Navigate in Blackboard:

After you read an attached document, if you want to get back to this page, click the Back arrow on your browser.

How to Print Linked Files:

When you click a linked file, the document will open inside the BlackBoard frame on the screen, which makes it almost impossible to print (because the frame obscures the text, so your printer will print part of the frame and part of the text). The way around this is to NOT left-click the linked file when you want to print it. Instead RIGHT-click the link and when the pull-down menu appears, choose “Open in a new window.” If you get a box asking you if you want to open or save the document, click Open. Then click the File menu and click Print.

How to Succeed in Working Online

This document spell out the things student need to know and do in order to succeed in an online course (or in the online component of a F2F class).

How to Create Your Blackboard HomePage

NOTE:  In order for students to create their HomePages, you must  first do the following via the Control Panel:  Click Manage Course Menu, click the Modify button next to Tools, and make sure that ” HomePage” has been made Available.  Next, click Manage Tools, click Tools Available, and make sure you have a check in the box to the right of Tools Area.

How to Use the Discussion Board

This illustrated document explains in detail everything students should do in order to create an effetive HomePage.

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Blackboard and iTunes Integration

From CUNY Academic Commons


Blackboard-iTunes U integration allows instructors and students to add, view and share rich media content associated with specific Blackboard courses. CUNY’s Computing Information Services has tested the building block that was developed by Vanderbilt University in the process of testing Blackboard-iTunes U integration and will be providing additional information in the near future. The success of the iTunes U teaching and learning pilot will depend on the collaboration among Blackboard Administrators from the participating colleges and schools.

Here’s the place for iTunes U Site and Blackboard administrators to share tips and tricks for practical, and useful workarounds and implementations: Bb and iTunes U – Tips and Tricks


With the participation and collaboration of CUNY, Vanderbilt University has produced an upgrade to its popular iTunes U Building Block for Blackboard. The building block adds new functionality and is fully compatible with Blackboard version 8 Community System domains, as well as with non-domains. CUNY has installed and tested the new building block in its Blackboard test-training environment. Production installation will be announced once an implementation date has been determined.

Administrators Guide

Here you will find the latest edition of the CUNY iTunes U Administrators Guide. The guide is meant for Blackboard System Administrators, Domain or College Administrators, iTunes U Site Administrators or others who might have a need to understand the features, functions and capabilities of the building block and how it integrates Blackboard and iTunes U for rich media presentation in teaching and learning. The guide is not geared to faculty or students. CUNY colleges, schools and programs, typically through their academic computing or CET&L resources should tailor the information to their Blackboard and iTunes U implementations and compile suitable faculty and student guides.

Click here for the latest edition of the CUNY iTunes U Administrators Guide

Click here for the iTunes U building block guide provided by Vanderbilt University.

LaGuardia Community College Demo Video: Using iTunes U on Blackboard 8

An instructional video for faculty, demonstrating how to enable an iTunes U course for for a Blackboard course.

York College – How to Use iTunes U: A Guide for Faculty

This guide was prepared by the Education Technology department of York College of the City University of NY. Note that the procedures described therein are based on how CUNY has elected to integrate and configure the Vanderbilt building block with Balckboard. How2Use_iTunesU – York College – CUNY.pdf

City College – “How to” Videos

The IT Department of the City College of NY (CCNY) has produced videos that explain how ho accomplish a number of administrative iTunes U tasks. Note that the procedures illustrated in these video are specific to how CUNY has elected to integrate and configure the Vanderbilt building block with Blackboard.

Enabling iTunes U in Blackboard 8 (for Instructors)

How To Delete a Podcast From Your iTunes U Page (for Instructors)

How to copy a link of a podcast from iTunes

How to subscribe to a podcast on iTunes U

Note that this video illustrates copying a link to content that is stored on CUNY’s public iTunes U site. Such links may not work correctly when the content is stored on a CUNY teaching & learning site where access to iTunes U content is limited and access is via logging onto the Blackboard LMS.

All Blackboard, iTunes U Site Administrators and Faculty may share their own tips and suggestions by contributing to this wiki. You are encouraged to add sections and post your materials on the wiki.


Blackboard Instructionals

From CUNY Academic Commons


Instructional Documents for Students

These sets of instructions (and instructional documents) help students navigate Blackboard, print linked files, create their HomePage, and so forth.

How to Create Groups on Your Course

A newly-created Bb course does not have a Groups button; you have to create one by adding a new Tool Link (in the Manage Course Menu screen) and then clicking the word Groups in the pull-down menu of the title box for this button.

Copying and Loading Images and Animated GIFS

This document also explains how to copy and load images or animated GIFs as banners or as images in textboxes–such as the one of me below:

Putting Directions in the Name of Link to File Box

The document explains how I get all my linked files to say “Click here” (instead of some confusing file name). I urge faculty to consider doing this. You can’t imagine how confusing and off-putting the lengthy, obscure title of most links look.
FAQ about Images in Documents That You Link to Items on Your Buttons


Bb Quick Tutorials on Bb 9 Features and Tasks

Blackboard 8 Quick Tutorials Library– How to use all of Blackboard 8’s tools..

DePaul University’s PowerPoints – Powerpoint presentation about the most salient features of Blackboard 8.

University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gradebook Tutorials -Animated tutorials about BB 8’s Gradebook.

Bucknell University Blackboard Tutorials

Online Resources that Provide Help for Faculty with Black Board 8
CUNY BB Faculty Help Sites

Baruch College Gateway to BB help

Hunter College BB Basics for students and faculty

Hunter College BB help for faculty

CUNY Grad Center BB Help

QCC Online Information and Assistance

York College BB Faculty Support Site:

York College BB Student Support Site:


VIDEO Changing Course Opening

YouTube Videos on Bb 8 tasks and features

Free Software to Open BB Course Zip File

You need to archive onto your own computer your active online courses a few times through the semester as a security measure and at the end when all work has ended. If you need to access its contents, particularly after the course database is no longer available through the university listings in BB, then you need something to open up that zip file used for the BB archive.
From the University of North Carolina comes a free program that extracts the content and organization from a Blackboard course “Export” (or “Archive”) zip file. Here is their text.
What is bFree?
bFree is a free tool developed by the IT staff at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that extracts the content and organization from a Blackboard course “Export” (or “Archive”) zip file. bFree creates either a web site or a folder hierarchy with the extracted information. The web site or the folders exhibit the same structure and names as the original Blackboard course. However, the site created by bFree is not an exact replica of the Blackboard site; certain parts of the Blackboard site (e.g., the Grade Center data, tests, blog content) are not extracted from the export/archive file.
bFree allows instructors to:
1. retrieve texts and other materials that would otherwise be unavailable outside of Blackboard
2. produce independent course web sites with the same content and structure of their present Blackboard course sites
3. preview and extract individual files and other content such as links, images, documents, discussion board forums (stripped of author identity), and wiki content
4. share the course materials or web site with others

The Hunter College Instructional Computing and Information Technology (ICIT) group has this and more in one of Hunter’s help documents:

This is available from a very rich source of BB info and assistance at 🙂

 Alternative Opening for the BB Site – A BB workaround

It is possible to have a BB site open in many different ways and to provide a good deal more to students upon the first opening than is currently available using the standard default “Announcements ” page opening.

You can have the main center frame of the BB site open with any item in the BB site, even files in hidden areas. That frame can open with a document or html page or video or audio or website. I have made it open to documents, websites and even a youtube video playing upon entry into the site. At the start of the course or any module (unit) of the course the opening center frame can display a text, audio or video file introducing the course or module.

How to do this? You need to realize two things.
1. You can set the course site to open where you want it to open.
In CONTROL PANEL you can go to SETTINGS and then go to COURSE ENTRY POINT. This will allow you to select from a drop down list any item from the COURSE MENU and have the course open to it in the center frame or open to it in a new window- your choice.

2. You can add any one of a number of things to the COURSE MENU and then have the course open to it (see 1).
Now you can add any one of a number of items.
Content Area
Tool Link
Course Link
External Link

Using Course Link you can open the site to any folder, file or document or DB forum anywhere in the BB course site.
Using External Link you can have the site open to youtube, wordpress site or page , or any other webpage with a url.

You need to NAME the new item. That name will appear on your Course Menu (the column on the left of the BB site – the buttons area) as an item in the list or as a new button, if you are using the buttons option for the menu.
You might name the new item as ” ANNOUNCEMENTS ” or ” VIDEO of the Week. ”
Then you set the course to open on that item following (1) above.

I change what appears in that center frame with each module(unit) or with each week. I generally am opening to an html webpage on my college website that has information pertinent to the course and updated regularly as part of my virtual presence in the class.

You can open to an html page with embedded items in it and this is much more than the standard default BB “Announcements ” supports.
It is a good idea to have it open with something that carries within it or on it the title and number of the course and section and the semester or the current date. If the media you are using does not permit those identifiers you can deal with the need in other ways .

If you do not have a webpage somewhere with what you want on it serving as the opening center frame you can workaround BB and create an html page stored in course documents in a hidden folder.

Open the item. It will have its own url appear. Capture that url address and treat it as if it was an External Link. Then proceed as given above.

Now you can have a much more attractive and rich course opening , even media rich, than BB supplies as a standard default..

Possible Savings for Students on Textbooks

You might want to share this with your students.
It is information to save on the acquistion of textbooks although it is already posted on the portal landing page, the portal log-in page, and the Blackboard home page.
pdf link:
html link:


You can make use of a feature of BB8 in the discussion board area that enhances communication amongst members and fosters interactions amongst learning community members. BB8 allows for members of the class to subscribe to a forum and then when anything isposted an email is sent out to the subscribers to their email address in the BB roster. The email can simply indicate an item is posted or it can contain the body of the post. This latter feature allows this feature to become a TWITTER for the class that permits more than 140 characters in the message. I have used it with 6BB classes at QCC and SPS with no problems at all and NO MISUSE.

How to do it?

Create a DB forum
Make forum available
Title forum
Allow members to subscribe
Include body of post in email

Then anyone entering the forum can subscribe by clicking on that option in the upper right. They get a confirmation and all is set.
I place this Twitter forum in a permanent position near the top of the DB

Here is my title and message to students. It has worked just fine.
Here is where you post information concerning items related to the course that may have appeared on TV or heard on Radio or a pod cast or a movie or a book or an article in a newspaper, magazine or journal or website. You can also post anything related to the course and people can SUBSCRIBE to this forum and receive your entire post in their email in a manner akin to TWITTER. ALL STUDENTS SHOULD SUBSCRIBE to this forum.

BB8 Discussion Board Oddity

There is an oddity in the BB8 discussion board area. (Well, yes, this is just one) BB8 opens the discussion board forums in either tree view or list view. If it opens with the tree view there is no option on the lower left for selecting all items. However if you click on list view and then click on tree view the option to select all will appear and remain in the tree view as well as the list view for the remainder of the time you are in the DB area.

 BB8 ODDITY with COURSE STATISTICS and “Select All” Feature

Some faculty have expressed surprise and discontent that when they check on COURSE STATISTICS in BlackBoard to look at the report for the activity for the class there are many names that appear for people who were never in the course or were not currently enrolled. This is probably due to requesting the statistics using “all users” instead of using “select users”. If you want the report for all current students and no others just use the select users option and highlight the entire drop down list. This will eliminate the appearance of unwanted and unrecognizable names in the report. 

Creating a Storage Area in a BB class site

You can create an area in a BB course site that is accessible only to the instructor. In that folder can be stored documents and files. Here are ony a few ideas for what can be stored. This supports faculty teaching online who travel and do not take their work computer with them. Files can include:
• Notes on the semester.
• Notes for revisions of the class site for next semester.
• Communications ot students.
• Templates with rubrics for assessment of student work.
• Repertoire of responses to student work, postings and questions.
• BANNERS for use in the weeks as the class progresses.
NOTE: It is inadvisable to sue this for large multimedia files.
• Go to Control Panel
• Go to Manage Course Menu
• Click on Add Content Area
• Name content area STORAGE AREA or something similar
• Enter Submit
• In Control Panel enter the Content Are you just created and place your items within it.
You can download them onto any machine with which your are working and then relocate them anywhere in your BB site.

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Blackboard Samples Across CUNY


From CUNY Academic Commons


Sample Courses and Modules

An Inconvenient Truth – This is one of LaGuardia Community College’s “First Year Experience” sites. The goal of each site is “to establish a greater sense of community among students and to provide an introduction to intellectual life at the college. ” Each site has a common reading, multiple paths andl inks for doing research on the reading, forums for sharing ideas and information, teaching resources, related blogs, and ways for students to apply what they have learned to their own lives and communities.

Close Reading of a Passage – A sample interactive writing exercise from Lawrence Kowerski’s Greek Civilization course.

Oral Communication for the Non-Native Speaker – Erika Heppner’s course makes students’ lives the content of the course. (Students create their own videos and other digital representations.)

New York City Stories – Liz Iannotti’s course begins by telling students, “You are now a member of an elite task force assigned with collecting data and images and capturing–for the sake of future generations–a snapshot of a particular aspect of life in New York City.”

School to Work Transitioning – Diane Nahas’s course makes students digital story-telling the goal and content of instruction.

Math 096 – George McCormack’s course provides his video explanation of every topic (with animation, graphics, and other multimedia).

Tony Picciano’s Video Lecture on Bilingual Education – This is one of a series of video “lectures” that Tony recorded in his house. Look at how relaxed he is! (If this o-pens in Windows Media Player, click the “full screen icon” to enlarge it.)

Introduction to Sociology – Felipe Pimental’s course is a Blackboard course that will open in another browser window.

Medieval Literature – Carl Grindley’s course is a Blackboard course that will open in another browser window.

Blackboard Scholar

From CUNY Academic Commons

Blackboard Scholar

Blackboard Scholar is a social academic bookmarking system which enables users to save links to web pages they want to remember and/or share.  (As of 2009, it’s available for students to access from anywhere.)  Below are two sites you and your students should read before you use Scholar.

Blackboard’s Intructor Tutorial about Scholar  (This is a video file which should launch your video player– Media Player, Real Player, etc.)

Scholar Wiki  This wiki has information about how to do just about anything you want to do with Scholar, to create a Scholar Stream– a collection of links that get dynamically collected and updated a designated tag or tags. (Once you tag one or more web pages, you create a Stream which searches for a specific tag. Any items with this tag will appear in the list of links inside the Stream.)

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