What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a web-based course management system (CMS). It is purchased for use by Saskatchewan teachers and students from the Washington D.C.-based Blackboard Inc. In simple terms, it is a collection of communication tools. These tools can be used to improve the communication between the teacher and students, or between the teacher and parents. It is extremely flexible and easy to learn. The Learning Technology Unit offers training throughout the year. These PD sessions are called "Online Institutes". Blackboard can be used to teach students at a distance, or in face-to-face classrooms. It can be used for electronic portfolios. It can be used for school websites. It can be used for staff meetings. It is great for extra-curricular clubs and school teams. It is useful in professional learning communities. It makes a wonderful place to store your files for easy access from other locations. If your school is interested in using Blackboard it is highly recommended that you contact the LTU for training options.
Saskatchewan Teachers can be provided with Blackboard teaching accounts.
Once you have an account you can enrol students or have Saskatchewan Learning create new logins for students not already in the system. We DO NOT want to create a new account for a person who already has one - those people are simply ENROLLED in your class.
You probably want to take part in some sort of PD in order to be reasonably skilled in the use of the software. However, some people are able to do quite well on their own. Once you have your teaching account you do all your work from the Control Panel - where there is even an online manual or here is a pdf version of the Instructor Manual.
To get one or more teaching accounts (classes):
1. You need to complete and submit an online PDF form. You require Adobe Acrobat Reader 6 or higher to complete the form.
2. It should not take more than a few days to get them made.
To have one or more student accounts (logins) created:
If you need student (login) accounts, we require an email with the following information:
- School Name
- School Division
- Teacher's Name
- Teacher's email address
- Teacher's (school) phone number
- Principal's Name
- Principal's email address
Then you must check to see if they already have an account - we have too many duplicate accounts already, we don't want more.
Then you must create and attach a spreadsheet (like Excel) file with the following column information:
- Last Name
- First Name
- eMail address
NOTE: the information must in separate columns. Spelling is important. Make certain that these accounts do not already exist.
You will get a return email with an attached Excel file giving you the usernames and passwords. This will generally happen within 24 hours of the file arriving at the LTU. (Week days only.) Send the file to Jim McLeod (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My learning style requires a printed manual instead of an online one. Is such a thing available?
Here is a pdf version of the Instructor Manual. Here is the Student Manual.
I logged on with the password and login you gave me. What do I do now?
The first thing you need to do is change your password to something you can remember, and make sure your eMail address is correct. You do this from the Personal Information link at the bottom of the TOOLS Menu on the left of your "My Place" screen.
I logged on some time ago, changed my password, and now can't log on. HELP!
You need to email Jim McLeod (email@example.com) and get him to reset your password. This can usually be done within a day or so. You need to include your full name and your username.
One of my students has forgotten their password. What should I do?
You should do nothing. The student needs to email Jim McLeod (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reset the password. This can usually be done within a day or so. They need to include their full name and their username.
I logged on and want to work on my class. What do I do?
You have to actually enter a class to work on it. If you just logged on you are in My Place - a sort of starting point for all your classes. Click on the name of the class you want to enter - on the right side of My Place. Once you have entered a class all the work you do as a teacher is from the Control Panel - which is on the left of the screen below the menu.
Do I need to have a new account created for every student?
No, you should first try to ENROL a student before asking for a new account. It is NOT GOOD to have multiple login-and-password combinations for a single student. We only create accounts for students who do not already have them.
I have several classes and some students are in them all. Will the LTU do this for me?
You enrol every student into every class they are in. It is up to you to do the work. It only takes minutes.
My student email accounts are wrong . How can I edit them?
You have to send an eMail to Jim McLeod (email@example.com) with a list of the student name, or username and the CORRECT email address. Students can do this for their own accounts..
I have a folder of documents on my computer. Can I get this folder into Blackboard easily?
Yes. You have to do the following: 1. You must ZIP the folder. 2. You must send this "document package" into Blackboard from the Control Panel. 3. Open the destination area in the control panel. 4. At the top of the screen is a grey bar with Add Item....Folder...External Link (etc). Go to the extreme right of that bar. Click the down arrow and select "Document Package". 5. Click the Go button. 6. The file to upload is the ZIPPED file. 7. Submit to finish. The zipped folder will be sent to the Blackboard server and un-zipped. All your files and folders will be available in the area you put them.
I want to use the materials I created this year in the fall with new students. How does this work?
You have at least two choices. You can just remove the "old" students and enrol new ones. You can ask Jim McLeod to COPY the existing class to one with a new name - and then you enrol the new students.
How long will Blackboard be available to me as a teacher?
We want to confirm that Blackboard accounts will continue to be provided to all Saskatchewan Teachers at no cost. This will continue for as long as the service is still seen to be useful. In addition, we are in the process of upgrading the software to provide additional features. Every Saskatchewan teacher should seriously consider using Blackboard to do the following:
- communicate with parents and students
- post homework assignments
- post copies of all handouts
- create a calendar of events
- Post a summary of marks
- have online discussions
- share files in a secure, password-protected environment
- have students turn in assignments digitally
- share multimedia files
- do online assignments and exams
- create links to valuable online resources
- take part in a learning community with other teachers
Other teachers and administrators have innovative and exciting applications of our Blackboard installation.