Step 4: Other Tools
The tools listed below are all "Building Blocks." Building Blocks are tools created by companies, universities and independent developers to extend the functionality of Blackboard. Note that the Blackboard online "Help" links will never contain information about these tools since they are not actually Blackboard products.
Faculty Test Student (_s) Account
ITS is no longer creating nor managing instructor "Test Student" accounts in Blackboard 9.1 (" your e-ID_s") for instructors to be able to log into their Blackboard course to see it as their students see it. Instructors will now create their own "Test Student" (e.g. jdoe_s) account, set and manage the password for it, and enroll that test student into each course each semester.
See the ITS Add Test Student tutorial for step-by-step instructions for creating and managing your "Test Student" account.
To log into Blackboard using your "Test Student" account and password, use the link beneath the log in button on the Blackboard home page that reads: "CLICK HERE to login with your test student (_s) account."
The external Links Checker verifies that links to external web sites located within a course are valid, not broken. The tool does not repair broken links, but it does allow instructors to "Hide" the broken links from students until they can be repaired.
- From the Control Panel in your course, click Course Tools.
- Click Link Checker.
- Links that are valid will have a green check mark in the "Valid" column. Links that are broken will have a red "X" in the "Valid" column.
- To make the link not visible to students, check the box in the "Hide" column beside the link you wish to hide. This tool does not remove the link; it just makes it invisible to the user.
- To make a link visible again, modify the individual item by navigating to the relevant course content area.
Set Grade Center Due Dates
The Set Grade Center Due Dates tool allows instructors, from a single access point. within a course, to: 1) set assessment due dates and/or 2) set the visibility of an assessment item for students when they check "My Grades." The latter setting is the equivalent of checking or unchecking the box beside "Show this Column to Students" within the Grade Center.
The "To Do" module for students on the Planner screen in Blackboard 9.1 is triggered by due dates on assignments.
This is expected to be a particularly useful tool at the start of a semester where a new course has been created from a copy of a previously taught course, providing a single location for updating due dates for the current semester.
From the Control Panel in your course, click Course Tools.
- Click Set Grade Center Due Dates.
- All graded assessments within your course are listed.
- Change the date by entering the date as MM/DD/YYY or by clicking on the calendar icon.
- To no longer show a column to students within "My Grades," uncheck the box under "Is Available?" Note that this setting has no impact on whether the column is included in the score calculation for the course. It only impacts the students' ability to see the assessment in "My Grades." It is highly recommended that assessments no longer being used actually be removed from the content area in which they were deployed and then deleted from the Grade Center.
- Click Submit at the bottom of the page.
The Notifications Dashboard contains four basic modules that give information to users based on their enrollment and their role in the system. For all users, each course contains a Notification Dashboard specific to that course. Instructors can customize the notifications that appear on this page, as well as opt to have email notifications sent to their account.
Rules for Dashboard Notifications
The page displays these modules:
- Needs Attention: Displays all items in a course that require some type of interaction. Instructors, teaching assistants (TAs), and graders see student submissions that need grading, such as assignments, tests, surveys, blog and Discussion Board posts, and journal entries. Content is seen only by the instructor.
- Alerts: Displays past due and early warning notifications for all courses. Instructors, TAs, and graders see the users in each course that have past due items and who have generated early warning messages. Links are provided to email students and view early warning system rules. Students see any assignments, tests, or other items that are past due and any early warning messages received. Content is seen by the instructor AND the students.
- What's New: Displays a list of new items in all relevant courses and organizations. Instructors, TAs, and graders see any new assignments that have been submitted, tests that have been submitted, new Discussion Board posts, blog entries, and journal entries. Students see new discussion board and blog posts, new grades posted, new content that is available. Content is seen by the instructor AND the students.
- To Do: Displays the status (Past Due/Due) of relevant course work. Students see any grade items that have listed due dates in two categories, what is past due and what is due in the future. Links to relevant course items are provided. Content is seen only by the student
What content is displayed
The following items can generate different notifications:
- Content item
- Course information
- Blog entries
- Journal entries
- Discussion Board posts
- Grade changes
- Early Warning System rules
- Group information
Edit Notifications Settings Panel
From within your course, in the module, click Edit Notifications Settings to locate the Edit Notifications Settings page. This page displays General Notification Settings.
- Edit General Settings: Defines the general notification settings such as email format, deletion schedule, and reminder schedule for courses and organizations.
- Edit Individual Course Settings: Displays the current notification settings for courses in which a user is enrolled. Changes to the notification settings for a specific course can be made.
- Bulk Edit Notification Settings: Select a set of courses to update and change the notification settings for them in one step.
- Edit Individual Organization Settings: Not available