This site provides a lot of information about BlackBoard 5.5 and how to use the BlackBoard system for online instruction. The site provides several examples and explanations about how to develop instruction and place different types of files and activities within the program. The site also includes basic instruction and information about how to introduce BlackBoard 5.5 to students.
Type of Material:
The site has several possible uses for faculty who are in the process of developing BlackBoard based materials, students who are learning how to use BlackBoard, and students who design instruction in BlackBoard as part of a course requirement.
Internet connection and Browser. Note: BlackBoard works best with Internet Explorer
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goals for this site include providing local information for help for instructors at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and generalized information about how to use BlackBoard.
Target Student Population:
Faculty at other institutions who are creating web-based or web-assisted courses can use this site to help them learn how to use BlackBoard. The site can also be used in courses in which students are required to develop web-based instruction of their own in BlackBoard. The student portion of the site can be used to provide students in web-based or web-assisted courses with information about how to operate within BlackBoard 5.5.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Instructors and students should have basic computer and internet skills. Some information about how course management tools operate is helpful but not essential.
This site offers extensive information for instructors and students that is generic for all instructors considering or already using BlackBoard and specific to UW-Oshkosh faculty. Both instructor and student information provides individuals with appropriate topics that can help both groups learn how to function within the online environment in BlackBoard. The explanations are short and clearly written. The basic information is good and can help an individual get started in BlackBoard 5.5. The information is well organized and can be accessed according to need. The coverage is relatively complete in that course organization, copyright (and fair use regulations), concerns about ADA compliance, and how to develop content are all addressed. Under Basic Information, there is a sample BlackBoard course available, which is helpful for those new to this particular course management tool. The section on Students and Other Users includes some good tips for instructors about how to introduce BlackBoard to students in a lab, in a classroom, or though a handout. The section on Files, Materials, and Multimedia has a link to important information about evaluating web resources that is useful for both students and faculty. There is also very helpful information about how to add different media (images, PDF, PowerPoint, audio, and video) to a BlackBoard course. Additional tips are provided about the Discussion Board/Forum and about Quizzes and Surveys features in BlackBoard. Information is also provided about problems that may be encountered when using BlackBoard 5.5 (for example ? problems students may experience with the quizzes). The final section,
called Teaching Online, contains suggestions for how to develop Virtual Fieldtrips that take students outside of your course to use the web as learning resource and research tool. This section also includes a set of links to additional articles and online resources about online teaching.
Unfortunately, the link to a Blackboard course about accessibility issues is not accessible to the general public the way the sample course is. This would be very useful to instructors who want to learn how to make their BlackBoard course ADA complaint. Information on course organization and design is limited and does not go into depth, although it can be a useful introduction. Some topics apply only to the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. As long as the user realizes that getting courses set up is specific to one?s institution and the contact persons are different for different sites, the site is still very useful.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site is most useful to instructors who plan to use, or are already using, BlackBoard as a course management tool. However, some material at this site could be useful to students enrolled in BlackBoard courses, to graduate students studying instructional design, and to students or staff who might be helping faculty design their online courses. As a guide one of the features that is very appealing is the way that the information is categorized. The topics are easily accessed and the user can choose what he/she needs to learn about. Instructors can easily select information they want read more about. Some sections might be useful for them to point their students to, such as the orientation to BlackBoard unit, information on copyright, how to evaluate web resources,
and citing online sources. The information on accessibility, ADA compliance, and ways to incorporate different kinds of media in a BlackBoard course seem most useful for Instructional Design students. The author of this site says that users are free to link to and use the files at this site when creating training, seminars, or online assistance. The author will even send a zip file of the entire site upon request, as long as she is acknowledged in any new pages based on files from this site.
This site is not at all interactive. It is set up to provide information in a straightforward, didactic manner. There appears to be no place to ask questions and no way to join a discussion group about BlackBoard, if a user would desire such interaction. Individuals outside of the University of Wisconsin cannot access some areas.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The structure of the site provides a good model for how an informational website should be laid out. The links are clearly labeled and the use is intuitive, if one is familiar with the way links work on the web. Topics are clear and easy to follow. There is plenty of white space with not too much text on the screen at one time. The look of website is consistent throughout, and such predictability is comforting. Navigation is simple and straightforward.
Individuals using other versions of BlackBoard may become confused when there are differences between the versions. Some of the links are broken. The broken links are not the ones that connect the user to information about topics but to some of the examples.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is an excellent resource when the user keeps in mind that some of the instructions apply to a specific institution.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.