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Washington State University

Using the LMS: Blackboard Learn

Using a Course Template

Enabling Your Course

Every campus course has an associated online Bb Learn course space.

To enable your course space so that students have access:

  1. Log into learn.wsu.edu
  2. In your My Courses box, you should see links to the courses you are teaching. If you do not, check the dropdown “Term” box to be sure the current term is selected.
    screenshot: show enrollment counts, Term dropdown with 2016 Fall selected
  3. Select ACTIVATE next to the course ID to create your new course space, manage and edit content. When the course ID is an active hyperlink, the course space has been activated.
  4. If needed, MERGE course spaces so that you can manage just one course space for multiple sections. How to Activate and Merge Courses Together in Blackboard Learn (pdf)
  5. To COPY an existing Bb course into a newly activated one. Copying Courses Within Blackboard (pdf)
  6. You can select the link and will have access to your course space, but your students will not until you Enable the course under “Availability”. To make a course available for students to view, select the Enable button in Availability column to the right of the course ID link. When the link says Disable, that means the course is currently available to students.
    screenshot: Enable course outlined with black box
  7. Select the word “Enable” and OK in the pop-up box.  The column will now indicate “Disable”.
    screenshot: Disable course outlined with black box

Course Basics

Explore an online course for ideas as to how to present content and make the best use of this resource.

Self-Help Tutorials

Populate It With the Basics

How to upload a file to Blackboard

  • Syllabus
  • Course Schedule
  • Use the assignment drop box to save paper and increase efficiencies.

Communication Tools

Office Hours

Zoom will provide a means for you to meet with virtually with students in real time. After adding the Zoom module, create a Zoom meeting.

Presenting Learning Material

Presentations

Synchronous Delivery

Synchronous Delivery via Zoom will easily accommodate courses with enrollments of 40 or less.

Student Accommodation Note: For any student with an approved captioning or transcription accommodation, the synchronous session must be live captioned. For assistance, contact Wendy Steele at wsteele@wsu.edu.

Asynchronous Delivery

Asynchronous Delivery via Panopto Lecture Capture can be used to record an audio lecture as well as to screen capture whatever is on your desktop that you might want to display.

Student Accommodation Note: For any student with an approved captioning or transcription accommodation, the recording must be closed captioned. You do not need to manually caption your recordings. For assistance, contact Wendy Steele at wsteele@wsu.edu.

  • You can also narrate a PowerPoint Presentation, upload the slides to Panopto and narrate to create your lecture. Refer to tutorials for creating a Panopto recording, above.

Student Accommodation Note: For any student with an approved captioning or transcription accommodation, the synchronous session must be live captioned. For assistance, contact Wendy Steele at wsteele@wsu.edu.

Virtual Labs and Simulations

Visit Options for Virtual Labs and Simulations for Laboratory-Based Courses for more information.

Demonstrations

Panopto Lecture Capture can be used to screen capture anything on your computer desktop. Refer to tutorials for creating a Panopto recording, above.

  • For drawing or equations use a Wacom, tablet, or stylus and upload the recording to Bb.
  • There is also a white board feature in Zoom which can be “shared” during a synchronous session and recorded for later use.
  • Panopto can be used with PowerPoint’s annotation tool for asynchronous access. How to Annotate in Powerpoint

Digital Course Material

Upload a file or create a hyperlink to a reading or video assignment. Learn more about Tips for Creating Accessible Course Materials.

Student Accommodation Note: For any student with an alternative text accommodation, please contact your WSU Campus Access Center for assistance.

Document Camera Alternatives for Home or Office

In the classroom, instructors often use a document camera as an alternative to the whiteboard or to project and annotate a document. Document cameras have many benefits: they allow the instructor to use their natural handwriting position, make writing easier-to-read for students, and simulate “looking over the shoulder” of the instructor to give insight to the processes involved in solving a calculation, analyzing a manuscript or creating a drawing or diagram.

You do not have to be in a classroom, with a full-sized document camera, to enjoy the same benefits. There are many simple, low-cost solutions you can use with Panopto or Zoom from your home or office. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use your mouse to make rough drawings and annotate using OneNote or PowerPoint
  • Use a stylus and a device with touch capabilities to annotate using OneNote or PowerPoint. There are two annotation monitors with styluses available in the Spark recording rooms or you can purchase your own.
  • Setup a webcam using a flexible tripod and position the camera to record what you are writing or drawing on a sheet of paper
  • Use a USB document camera

If you need more information on getting started or how to incorporate into your course, please contact AOI at aoi.li@wsu.edu.

Synchronous or Asynchronous: Which Should I Use?

Two important questions

  • How big is your class?
  • What happens during “class time” in the classroom?

Synchronous sessions with Zoom

Zoom is WSU’s web-conference solution. This will allow you to meet with your students synchronously whether it be one-on-one, for class lecture time, and for office hours.

Lecture-Style

“Lecturing” via Zoom is simple and efficient. In addition, this is the modality students are most familiar with and will keep students on schedule, working through the class.

Interactive Sessions

If your lectures are more conversations between you and students, there are several tools to utilize such as:

  • Nonverbal feedback (raise hand, yes, no, etc.)
  • Breakout rooms
  • Chat
  • Polling

Learn more about the features in the table below.

Interactive Sessions for Larger Class Sizes

If your lectures are more conversations between you and students, managing a class of more than 40 students will be a challenge. You can still delivery via Zoom as mentioned in the previous section, but we recommend you set up a discussion space in your Blackboard course space for additional questions and conversation.

Asynchronous Recordings with Panopto

Panopto will allow you to record content (video, screen share, PowerPoint, etc.) for your students to view. Panopto also offers an editor allowing you to add a table of contents, YouTube videos, and simple quizzes.

  • Pre-recording lectures is a good strategy for large classes. Coupled with a Blackboard discussion space for conversation and questions, the course can be very engaging.
  • Within Blackboard students can be divided into smaller groups to facilitate more robust conversation and each group can bring their “findings” back to the group.

Use Both Synchronous and Asynchronous

It does not need to be all or none. You can record some, or all of your lectures, and still hold class, just less often (like a flipped class). Some examples:

  • Meet synchronously via Zoom Monday or Tuesday to talk about what students need to accomplish that week and provide one day’s course content. Post the rest of what students need during the week in the course space (Blackboard).
  • Post all lecture content via Panopto and meet with a subset of the class each day the course would usually meet. For example, for a MWF class, meet with a third of the class each day to answer questions, and help keep the students moving forward and on task.
  • Provide a brief (less than 20 minutes) video via Panopto for students to view before attending class via Zoom.

Features Comparison

 Zoom (Synchronous)Panopto (Asynchronous)
Synchronous DiscussionYesNo
Attendance TrackingYesYes
RecordingYesYes
Recording view dataNoYes
Edit recordingNoYes
Editable Table of Contents in recordingNoYes
Audio/Video for ParticipantsYesNo
Audio/Video for HostYesNo
Collaboration/Communication toolsYesNo
Polling/QuizzingYesYes
Screen Sharing for ParticipantsYesNo
Screen Sharing for HostYesYes
Annotation toolsYesYes
Ability to use recording in subsequent semestersNo (possible FERPA violation)Yes
Access through BlackboardYesYes
Automatic captioning of recordingYesYes
Stores in cloud YesYes
Breakout RoomsYesNo

Student Work

Group Work

Groups can be easily set up in Bb and students can use the Bb communication tools to document their work.

Assignments

Create an assignment drop box, complete with assignment instructions.

Tests, Quizzes, and Assessments

For Online Exams
  • Use the Bb assessment tool
  • Quizzes can be built into Panopto. How to add a quiz to a videoNote:  You will need to create a user name and password on the Panopto help site.
  • Improve academic integrity for online exams
    • Promote academic integrity throughout the course space and semester
      • Employ an Academic Honesty Statement in every assessment
      • Define cheating
      • Demonstrate cheating is unacceptable
      • Don’t reuse tests across semesters, when possible
    • Building your exam
      • Be explicit in what can and cannot be used during each assessment
      • Provide detailed grading criteria
        • Consider using a rubric
      • Limit test availability
        • Date Range
        • Time limit
      • Create different versions of the assessment by using question groups/pools
      • Use higher application level questions
        • Use real world context when possible
      • Emphasize grading on work shown instead of answer, where feasible
      • Have students record their thought process as evidence that they did the work themselves (can be used for all question types)
  • Proctoring is an option
    • Starting fall semester, exams delivered online through Blackboard can be supervised by ProctorU, WSU’s trusted third-party virtual proctoring service
      • Information about getting started with ProctorU will be available the week before the fall term begins at For Faculty: Proctored Exams. Proctoring for physical campus courses must be approved by the Associate Dean of your college. Talk to your Associate Dean if you have questions. 
    • Faculty can use Zoom to proctor students taking an exam synchronously in smaller classes. After adding the Zoom module, create a Zoom meeting.
Other Types of Assessments

You may find that in this situation an online exam is not the best option for your class. Other options include:

  • Interview and performance assessment
    • Schedule short meetings with each student via Zoom
      Depending on the discipline ask students to perform a complex skill or procedure, answer assessment questions, or create a product to demonstrate that they can apply the knowledge and skills they have learned while the instructor or TA observes and evaluates the process. These could be a combination of written and oral.
  • Student portfolios
    Ask students to prepare a collection of class assignments. These are most often collections of written work, but could also include computer programs, drawings, video tapes, or problem solving. Because portfolios contain a collection of student work, they often provide a more accurate picture of a student’s achievement than a single test or project could.
  • Evidence gathered in the online course space
    Base assessment on the quality of the student’s interaction in the course space; the  quality of their Thinking and Engagement using rubrics for critical thinking and engagement, for example. The nice thing about an online environment is that their interactions can be captured in threaded discussions and other collaborative environments.

For more ideas read through this previous teaching tip about authentic learning experiences and assessments.

Additional Resources

For those planning to deliver their distance course from a WSU classroom: Check out the technology capability of the classroom in which you are scheduled to teach before you finalize your delivery plan.