Join This Summer’s W&M Blackboard Basics Class


The best part of my job is Blackboard outreach. I love showing professors new ways to use this powerful tool. But while it’s fun, one-on-one support doesn’t reach many people. That’s why I’m offering a Blackboard Basics class this month.

Designed to cover every aspect of a W&M Blackboard course, from creating your course to calculating the final grades, this class is scheduled to coincide with the Summer 1 term. Starting two weeks before the term begins, we’ll first create Blackboard course shells, and then participants will have their course created, populated with students, and filled with the class syllabus and assignments before the first day of classes.

I’m excited to teach this class in the newly renovated Swem Media Center. The classrooms are technological marvels that allow students to share their screens from a mobile device, tablet, or computer. On top of that they feature some rather nice ‘soft’ options, like lovely modern furniture that can be arranged in different groupings. I’m hoping those features will help us foster a more engaging class than the usual ‘chalk and talk’ set up.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to learn every aspect of Blackboard, but I know that even in the summer schedules get busy and people aren’t able to attend. To accommodate that the class is being designed to allow for ‘drop in’ students as well as regulars. Attendees can sit in on a single session, miss three or four, or attend all of them. If you only need to learn about calculating final grades, come to the last class. If you’re interested in creating a course and holding tests in Blackboard, you’re welcome to attend just the first and the fourth session.

For many of our faculty summertime is about research and recharging. Since many of you won’t be on campus during the term, the class will have a Blackboard component. All materials, exercises, and examples will be posted after the in-person session. The course will remain available via open manual enrollment, so it can be a resource for faculty after the face-to-face class comes to an end.

The Sessions and Their Topics

The sessions will be:

  1. Create and Customize Your Course — May 21
    • Blackboard Course generator
    • Navigation and Naming (a guided tour)
    • Change course color scheme & name
    • Upload syllabus
    • Add Content Areas
  2. Add Content — May 28
    • Create links to articles, videos, and images
    • Post an announcement
    • Send out a group email
    • Request e-reserves
  3. Create Assignments — June 4
    • Create assignments
    • Use SafeAssign
    • Create graded blogs and journals
    • Create a class wiki
    • Create rubrics
  4. Create, Administer, and Grade Tests — June 11
    • Create tests
    • Test Options & Testing Exceptions
    • Test question types
    • Grade tests
    • Edit tests before and after the test is given
  5. Blackboard Grade Center — June 18
    • Organize the Grade Center
    • Create a column for activities outside of Blackboard
    • Show and Hide grades
    • Create a custom category
    • Have Blackboard calculate a final grade/Create a Calculated Column
    • Download the GradeCenter

You can reserve your seat in one or all of the sessions online at

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