How well do your students know how to use Blackboard? The answer will probably vary from student to student and class to class. Some students will have used it before while others won’t. Some students may be new to it but will be more tech savvy than others. How can you help ensure that even though your students may be starting in different places tech-wise that the LMS doesn’t act as a stumbling block in their success in your course?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some things that you can do to help your students get acclimated to using Blackboard.
The New Student Orientation
Did you know that every student enrolled in an online, hybrid, or VCM course is automatically enrolled in the New Student Orientation in Blackboard? This course takes them through the basics of how to use Blackboard, including some of the really important stuff that they’ll use on a daily basis to complete coursework and stay engaged with classmates. Encourage students to complete it (it doesn’t take much time) to get familiarized with Blackboard.
If you have any questions about the New Student Orientation, let us know! We are happy to help you learn more about this tool and what it covers for students.
Introduce the Basics
You may have students in your courses who have never used an LMS before. You may have students who have used another LMS but not Blackboard. You may have a few who have been using Blackboard since grade school. Regardless of where your students are knowledge-wise, it’s a good idea to cover the basics just to make sure that everyone has the tools they need to get started.
The biggest thing might be surprising to you: make sure students know how to find and log into Blackboard. You might assume that this is common knowledge, but students don’t always know where to navigate and often are confused about what their login information is.
Next, share some information on how each week of the course will be structured. Students need to know where to find your modules, quizzes, or discussion boards. They need links for Zoom or Collaborate rooms that are easy to find. Make it predictable and easy to complete the basic functions of the course.
Finally, give students a chance to practice. Set up low-stakes quizzes, introductory discussion board posts, or casual meetups on Collaborate that let students practice skills without the stress of being assessed on them.
Make It Easy
Using the LMS for any part of a course shouldn’t be frustrating for students. One of the best ways to avoid this is by making it as easy as possible for students to find the information and complete the tasks required by the course. Consider these best practices:
- Organize your content sequentially and make it easily accessible in one place and consistent from week to week
- Build your content with inclusivity and accessibility in mind from the start
- Make sure that all important dates for the course are easy to find and updated each term
- Let students know when and where to look for grades and/or feedback on LMS-based assignments
If you want advice or help with course design best practices, contact us! We have experts on staff who can help you and have the added bonus of knowing a ton about Blackboard.
Help Them Find Support
Learning Technologies does not provide student support for Blackboard. So what do students do when they need help with Blackboard?
Their first step should be to call or email the Student Helpdesk.
- (630) 942-2999
Students can also take advantage of Blackboard’s support site. Here, they can find resources and videos that will take them through nearly every aspect of utilizing Blackboard as a student.
Faculty are encouraged to contact Learning Technologies if there appear to be problems with Blackboard’s functionality. We’re happy to assist you in ensuring everything in your course is working properly.