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Teaching with Blackboard

About Blackboard

Blackboard™ is a course management system used campus-wide at NIU. The system allows faculty to post materials, deliver tests and surveys, hold online discussion and many other course-related functions. All currently-enrolled students and teaching faculty have access to the Blackboard system. We are running Blackboard version 9.1 Service Pack 14, having upgraded the system May 25, 2014. Login to the NIU Blackboard site at: http://webcourses.niu.edu

Tips for Increasing Student Retention with Blackboard

Posted: 9/24/2014

Tips for Improving Student Retention with Blackboard

There are many issues that impact student retention, such as financial needs, family issues, personal adjustment, curriculum design, teaching methods, and academic advising. Improving retention requires dedication and contribution from everyone at NIU. In this online workshop offered 9/19/14, we discussed some features in Blackboard that can impact student success and retention by creating a stronger community in the classroom and identifying potential problems early. Watch the archive to learn more about these tools.

To learn more about Teaching for Student Retention, read this article from our Spring 2014 Spectrum newsletter.

Known Issue: Test Exception Does Not Allow Student to Take Exam After Due Date

Posted: 10/2/14

The Test Exception feature allows faculty to establish separate availability dates for individual students or groups of students. This is useful for students who may be traveling or ill during a regular exam window. Setting the availability dates should allow only the student or students included in the exception to access the test after the availability window closes. However, if a Due Date is specified and the setting for "Do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed" is selected, students with availability windows after the Due Date will be prevented from starting the test.

To avoid this, simply uncheck the option for "Do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed" and use the global availability dates for the Test to restrict students from accessing the Test. Then, the availability exception will allow the student or students to access the Test as normal and begin the Test. These submissions will be marked as Late by Blackboard, but that warning can be ignored by the faculty.

This has been submitted to Blackboard as a bug, but there is no timeline for a fix.

More Known Issues »

New Tool Available for Posting Audio and Streaming Video

Posted: 6/19/2014

Screenshot highlighting the Helix Media Library option under Mashups in the Text Box Editor

The Helix Media Library is available as a mashup in the Text-Box Editor, which is used for most of the areas that text is typed into Blackboard, including (but not limited to) when adding an item, submitting an Assignment, posting to a Discussion Forum, or providing feedback in the Grade Center.A new tool is now available in Blackboard that makes it easier for both faculty and students to add their own audio and video files to Blackboard. The Helix Media Library allows both faculty and students to upload audio and video files to a server that is optimized for streaming media and embed them within Blackboard.

Files uploaded will not be included in the Course Quota. Faculty, staff, and students will have 4 Gigabytes (GBs) of storage space, and individual files can be up to 2 GB in size. If necessary, free 4 GB quota increases can be requested from ITS by completing the Computing Access Resources (CAR) form.

To learn more about the Helix Media Library, please visit www.niu.edu/blackboard/build/content/helix.shtml.

More Blackboard news »