What is this?
Blackboard now provides blogging capability for Blackboard courses. It's a way for instructors and students to participate in an ongoing discussion on specific course topics. Since it's inside a Blackboard course it's only available to members of the course.
Why would I use this?
Blogs provide a way for instructors to communicate with students in a manner that is familiar to them. This communication can happen both inside and outside of the classroom on an ongoing basis.
Blogs also provide a certain kind of freedom that allows today's students to express themselves on a topic in a less formal way. Perhaps the fact that most blogs used in courses are not graded is part of the magic. Having said that, there are ways to include blog participation in student grades (just like grading discussion board participation).
How do instructors create blogs?
Only an instructor can create a blog, but in most cases students participate in them.
- Open Blackboard and enter the course you want to add a blog to.
- Double check that Edit Mode is On for the course by looking towards the top right of th page. If it isn't, click the slider to turn it on.
- From the navigation menu on the left, under Control Panel click Course Tools.
- Click Blogs.
- Click Create Blog.
- In section 1, give your blog a Name. If you want to write any instructions or notes for your students about the blog you can do that here.
- In section 2, you can select if you want your blog to be immediately available or not. By default, your blog will be available.
- Section 3 allows you to select time restrictions for your blog. By default, there are no time restrictions for your blog.
Section 4 allows you to choose your blog type and allow anonymous comments if you wish.Click here to see the difference between the two options.
Individual to all studentsEach student gets their own individual blog. They can look at the blogs of other students by clicking the pull-down menu on the right of the page and selecting another member of the course. You can also use the arrows on the left and the right of the name to scroll through all of the available blogs.
CourseAll members of the course post to one blog and all posts are seen on the main screen. Members of the course can use the allows on the right to only show posts by a specific member of the course if they wish.
- Section 5 allows you to choose your blog settings.
- If you would like to add a grading component to your blog you can do so in section 6. By default, this section is set to No Grading.
- After completing all sections, croll to the bottom and click Submit.
- Your blog will now be shown in the Blogs section of Course Tools. You will be able to see how many entries have been made in it and have a quick link to it. However, at this point, students can't access the blog.
How instructors add a link to blogs in a content area
In order for students to be able to access a blog, an instructor needs to create a link to it in a content area of the course.
- You can place a blog in any content area, but for this example we will choose Course Documents.Click the link to enter Course Documents.
- From the top menu, click Tools and the select Blogs.
- Click the Link to a Blog radio button and select the blog you want to link to from the list of available blogs.
- Click the Next button.
- In section 1, enter a name and description (optional) for your new link. By default, the name of the link is the name of the blog you selected.
- In section 2, select the availability of your link and decide if you want to track the number of views.
- Click Submit.
Contribute to a Blackboard blog
Once a link for a blog is available, students and instructors can add text, hyperlinks, images and more to a blog. Enter the content area and choose the blog you want to add content to. Then follow the instructions below.
Creating a new blog entry
Click the Create Blog Entry button to start creating a new blog.
If you don't see the Create Blog Entry button, this may be the type of blog where you have to select your name before you post. Find your name and click on it using the pull-down menu on the right.
Enter a title for your post and the content using the two text boxes shown.
You can write your blog entry in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste it into the larger text box above. Depending on the browser you are using, you may be required to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + V (COMMAND + V on a Mac) to paste into this box.
Highlight the text in the text box that you want to make a hyperlink using your mouse or keyboard.
Click the Insert/Edit Link button from the toolbar.
Enter the web address in the Link Path box, select Open in New Window from the Target pull-down menu and then click insert.
You MUST include http:// at the beginning of the link and choose Open in New Window to avoid getting errors after clicking the Insert button.
- Click the Insert/Edit Image button on the toolbar.
- In most cases you will be adding images that are already on your computer. Click the Browse My Computer button.
- Click the image you want to add and then click Open. Alternatively, you can double-click the image you want to add.
- Enter an Image Description and Title for your image and click Insert.
You can also add images on the web by entering the FULL URL of the image in the Image URL box. For example, (http://thehofstrachronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/adm_phototour_mascots.jpg).
Inserting a YouTube video
- Click the Mashups button and select YouTube Video from the menu that opens.
- Enter a search term and click Go. This will show you the YouTube search results for your search term. If you know the exact title of the video you want to insert, type it in to the Search box.
- Click the Select button under the video you want to insert.
- There will be a few options you can modify, but in most cases you can just click Submit.
- A link to the video you selected with a thumbnail will now appear in your blog post.
Inserting links to miscellaneous file types
You can insert links to any type any type of file (MP4, MP3, WAV, etc.) that you want your blog readers to download.
- Click the Insert File button.
- In most cases, you will be uploading files that are on your compter. Click Browse My Computer.
- Click the file you want to add and then click Open. Alternatively, you can double-click the image you want to add.
- Enter a descriptive name for your file and alt text (to assist visually impaired students) and click Submit.
Post your blog entry
After entering all of the text, images, hyperlinks and other file types into your blog, scroll down to the bottom and click Post Entry to post your new blog.
Adding a comment to a blog entry
- Locate the blog entry you want to comment on and click the Comment button.
- Enter your comment and click Add.
How instructors grade blogs
If an instructor has enabled grading for their blog, they can follow the instructions below to grade student blog entries.
- Enter the blog you want to grade and click the words All Course Members on the right. This will show you a pull-down menu with the list of all of your students. Select a student from the list.
- You will see all of the blog entries for the student you selected. Enter a grade and feedback in the appropriate boxes on the right, then click Submit.