Blackboard Overview - For Instructors & T.A.s

This document gives an overview of the Blackboard system and tells you where to find more information on specific topics. If you would like a printer-friendly version of this page plus some of the further documentation, print this 24-page Blackboard Overview in PDF format.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a Learning Management System (LMS) designed to provide an online space for class activities such as exchanging documents, online discussions, and managing course grades. At Biola, we use Blackboard mainly to support traditional face-to-face courses. However, some use it to conduct the entire course online.

Classes are the central organizing unit of Blackboard - most activities take place in the context of a specific "course," with "users" associated with each course in different "roles," such as instructor, student, or teacher's assistant.

Logging In

We automatically create user accounts for all instructors and students in all Biola courses. You can log in at Your username is your Biola ID number. See the Welcome to Blackboard document for help finding your password.(See a 2-page PDF document for faculty: Welcome_BB_Faculty.pdf)

Once you log in, you will see a list of your courses. We automatically create courses and assign each user to their course. For help managing your list of courses, or questions about why a course doesn't show up, see the My Courses documentation.

What Can it Do?

This section lists some of the common uses of Blackboard, with references to further documentation on each topic. Use as much or as little of the capabilities as you want - whatever would be most helpful to your class.

Setting Up the Main Page. Start here. This section introduces the instructor Control Panel, which you use to design and set up a class.

Managing Users. Your Blackboard roster is not the official roster. During registration and the first few weeks of the semester, students automatically get enrolled in your Blackboard class as they add the class (but not dropped). Sometimes you may need to adjust your Blackboard roster.

Posting Content. Describes how to post content and links to web sites. You can post any kind of content - articles, your syllabus, instructions, audio, video, etc. (See Posting Articles for additional information on posting copyrighted materials.)

The Grade Center. You can use Blackboard as your main gradebook for the class. This gives students quicker feedback, and simplifies coordination when more than one person enters grades for a class - such as classes with multiple instructors or T.A.s.

Assignments. You can use Blackboard to receive and organize electronic submissions from students. You can give comments, record the grade, and send documents back to the students all on one web page. Also: no more shuffling through your email inbox trying to find student assignments. Optionally, you can use an automatic plagiarism detection system called SafeAssign.

Discussion Boards. Conduct online discussions for class feedback, peer review, etc. You can even link this to the Grade Center, if you want to make participation part of the grade.

Assessment. Online Tests/Quizzes/Surveys. You can create question banks to use for online assessment. We have not created any documentation on this topic - see instructions from UMaryland here: Assessment Tools.

Course Cartridges. Some publishers provide course content to use with Blackboard. These typically include content, sample assignments, online quizzes/tests, and sometimes even complete electronic copies of the textbook. For help using a course cartridge, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

Getting Help

If you need help, contact the Blackboard Administrator. See Contacting the Blackboard Administrator.

Blackboard is the most widely used Learning Management System, so you may be able to find online documentation on specific questions with a simple web search. Hopefully, the documentation referenced above will answer most common questions.

Here are a few more sites that may be helpful: