Blackboard Tips for Teaching Assistants

Blackboard is the course management system used campus-wide at NIU. Faculty and TAs may post course materials, deliver tests and surveys, hold online discussions, and facilitate many other course-related functions. As a TA, your responsibilities in Blackboard will be determined by the faculty member you work with.

Accessing Blackboard at NIU

  1. Open a browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or Safari)
  2. Type in the address bar and click Go or press Enter
  3. Type your NIU AccountID in the Z-ID/AccountID box
  4. Type your Password in the Password box
  5. Click the Login button to log in to Blackboard

Previewing Your Course as a Student

As you build your Blackboard course, you can use the Student Preview mode to use the course as a student. This allows you to check that everything is working correctly.

  1. Log in to Blackboard and select a course from the My Courses module
  2. Click the Student Preview icon, in the upper right corner of the course
  3. Preview the course as a student
  4. Click the Student Preview icon again to leave the preview mode

Note: Data created in preview mode, like assignment or test submissions, can be kept or deleted when you leave preview mode.

Creating an Announcement

Announcements are an ideal tool for communicating time- sensitive material to students, such as reminders about upcoming due dates or changes to the syllabus.

  1. Click Announcements in the course menu
  2. Click the Create Announcement button
  3. On the Create Announcement page, enter the announcement Subject
  4. Type the Message
  5. Select whether the announcement is date restricted and if it is, enter Date Restrictions
  6. Click the Browse button if you want to create a link to an area in the course
  7. Click the Submit button

Adding Content to a Course

There are many ways for you to store and deploy course content in Blackboard. Content Areas exist in the Course Menu by default, but you can create additional content areas.

  1. Click Content or Information in the course menu
  2. On the Action Bar, click Build Content and select Item or File (Item will have an additional Text field while File only allows you to attach a file)
  3. On the Create Item/File page, enter Name and Text
  4. Click the Browse My Computer button to attach a file
  5. Select Date and Time Restrictions if needed
  6. Click the Submit button

Recording Grades

The Blackboard Grade Center allows you to record grades for various assessments, keep track of grading history, and generate reports that can be shared with students.

  1. From the Control Panel, click Grade Center, then click Full Grade Center
  2. Click the Create Column button
  3. On the Create Column page, enter Column Name
  4. Enter Points Possible
  5. Select the Options for displaying the grades to students
  6. Click the Submit button
  7. To record a grade, under the added column click in the cell for a particular student, type the grade and click Submit

Grading an Assignment

The Assignment tool in Blackboard allows electronic assignment submission, collection, and grading. Once the Assignment is created, Blackboard automatically adds a column to the Grade Center where all of the submissions are collected and later graded.

  1. From the Control Panel, click Grade Center
  2. In the Grade Center, locate the column for the assignment. Exclamation mark icons in the cells indicate that students have already submitted assignments
  3. Click the round drop-down arrow next to the exclamation mark for a particular student
  4. Select Attempt
  5. On the Grade Assignment page, under Review Current Attempt, view submission information from the student and comments. Next to Attached Files, click on the file name to view it or download it
  6. Under Grade Current Attempt, type the Grade and enter Feedback to User. If desired, you can attach a file with comments by clicking the Browse my Computer button
  7. Type Instructor Notes (those can only be seen by course instructors)
  8. Click the Submit button

Login to Blackboard

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