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January 23, 2012 / dlitgroup

Tips from Tim

I had the pleasure of co-facilitating an Advanced Blackboard Training for Adjunct Faculty with Tim Koets this past Saturday. I enjoy working with different people, especially faculty who use our College technology on a daily basis and have had the time to come up with strategies that work very well for them. I scribbled down three tips which Tim shared with the adjuncts on Saturday which I thought were good enough to share with everyone!

#1 – Use html for files

Create your syllabus and schedule in html – you can even use the editor directly inside of Blackboard – and this will make it easy for you to edit these files anywhere anytime, as long as you have an internet connection! I personally love using html files in Blackboard courses because you can feel confident that your students will be able to access the files from any computer. They do not require a special plug-in or software. The other big plus is the ability to easily edit the files on the fly. You do not have to open a word document, make the necessary change and then save the file as a pdf and upload it to your course. With html you can simply click on the link in Blackboard with edit mode on and it will open it up in the editor allowing you to make the change and click Submit!

#2 – Post your Schedule in a separate file from your Syllabus

It’s often a matter of personal preference when it comes to syllabus and schedules. Many professors put them all together. Some separate the two. Still others put a schedule in the syllabus and a separate file. Tim showed how he uses a separate schedule because then he is able to keep his syllabus fairly generic which eliminates the need for him to make major updates to the syllabus every semester. Instead, all date related information is in the separate schedule which he updates very regularly – since it is an html file in his course, he even goes in to update the color of weeks (rows) that have been completed much like someone would cross out days on a calendar.

#3 – Use Course Links

Another important point to make to new course designers is to use course links to link to an item in multiple places. This will give you the ability to have your schedule in the course information area, and as its own link on the navigation bar, without creating duplicate files in your course! Duplicates can create such headaches when you do have to make changes because its critical that information is consistent across your course, or you may have students submitting items with various due dates, all of which appear to be valid based on the different versions of the schedule each student is using.

Are there any tips you’d like to share with others that you’ve found make your life in Blackboard easier?

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2 Comments

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  1. James Stanchfield / Jan 23 2012 7:32 pm

    Great tips. I don’t know if it is a much of a issues in Blackboard Learn, but in Blackboard Vista, copying text from MS Word can copy over some unwanted HTML code that can cause issues, so I would suggest against copying from Word, and just create the HTML files directly in Blackboard.

    • dlitgroup / Jan 26 2012 1:29 pm

      We are anxiously awaiting the new VTBE in Blackboard because this will no longer be a problem! 🙂

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