Blackboard provides student performance analysis tools

The Blackboard Grade Center offers options for reviewing student performance on your tests and exams and can be a useful mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of your test questions. A poorly worded question doesn’t mean your students aren’t mastering the content. Look for Attempts Statistics, Download Results, Item Analysis and Column Statistics as options in the column header for your test.

Blackboard – time to reconsider

This time of year we’re all spending a lot of time in Blackboard, yet seldom does one hear its praises sung within our hallowed halls. It may not be the shiniest tool in our toolbox, and some might even say its menus and structures are less than an inspiring home for the learning and cognitive transformations we expect it to facilitate.

Use profile pictures to increase engagement

A picture gives us a visual anchor that helps us navigate an online conversation, particularly one with many participants. Social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter are obvious examples, but did you know that Blackboard also supports profile pictures? Encouraging their use in your course could help increase student engagement in discussions and allow a learning community to develop more naturally.

Blackboard hints & tricks

If you’re a longtime Windows user, you might be wishing for a visual folder structure view of your course. You may be more familiar with a “tree’ structure where you see folders with a “+’ sign indicating something in the folder. When you click on the folder icon that is right above the course name, a new window will open that allows you to navigate quickly to a nested tree structure where titles are links. This option is also available for students.

Going mobile

The Blackboard Learn application for iOS has been available for quite a while. The application is very student friendly and is a great option for accessing course material and posting to the discussion board using a mobile device. The Blackboard Grader application is now available (iOS iPad only) and should prove to be a great advantage for instructors.


Having an institutional Learning Management System (LMS) has both advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages are that class and student data is automatically created based on the institution’s registration system, students gain familiarity with the LMS’ structure and navigation, there is an online gradebook for teachers and students, and more.

Word vs. Blackboard

Many instructors spent frenzied final hours before launch wrestling content into Blackboard. One frequent source of challenge is that nearly all of us develop our lectures, notes and syllabi in Microsoft Word and when we transfer these materials online, we unwittingly wander into a decades old battleground. We innocently expect that we should be able to copy and paste from our Word document directly into Blackboard. But the potential layers of complexity and conflict can be more than frustrating.

The care and feeding of progress

I’d advise everyone who uses Blackboard’s Grade Center to embed this tip–or a link to this WordPress post supporting it–in your “Getting Started’ folder. It’s perfect for the student to understand how to see your feedback.

Bb eCampus tab

Are you teaching or are you enrolled in a UAF eCampus-supported course? If so, you may have recently noticed a new feature in Blackboard we call the ‘UAF eCampus Tab’. If you haven’t checked it out, next time you log into Blackboard, look next to the ‘My Blackboard’ tab at the top right and click on ‘UAF eCampus’. You will find three sections there with lots of important and helpful information including links to social media on each page.

Data tracking

How do you know they are listening? You put an incredible amount of effort into your online or flipped course. If you’re curious to see how often–or, how long–people are listening, reports and data help. Blackboard, SoundCloud, and YouTube track user views.

Quiz analysis

The end of the semester is a good time to review how well your students did on your class assessments and if those assessments actually gave you evidence of student’s understanding. One type of assessment that you might include in your course is a test that students access through Blackboard.

Blackboard global navigation

Get an overview of your activity within the Blackboard world all in one spot by using the new Global Navigation feature in the update, Service Pack 11, for Blackboard 9.1. This efficient suite of tools will help you and your students get an overview of your activity within the Blackboard world —all in one spot.

Blackboard SafeAssign

SafeAssign is a Blackboard module that not only allows instructors to check student papers against published content, but can be configured in the course shell to allow students to check their own work. This can be a valuable part of a learning activity for beginning writers.