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Understanding Your Blackboard Course Site

Blackboard is a Learning Management System. Beginning in Fall 2012 all UAS course sites are being hosted on Blackboard. In UAS Online you'll click on the name of your course and be directed to a Blackboard course site as shown below.

Blackboard Course Site

(1) In the upper right, turn edit mode on or off. When edit mode is off you'll see approximately what students will see in your class.  Unavailable or hidden items will not show.

(2) In the upper left is the Course Menu.  The Course Menu displays links to Tools (such as Announcements, Discussion Board. My Grades etc) and Content Areas (the three default Content Areas are Syllabus, Getting Started and Course Content). 

(3) When you or a student clicks on a link in the Course Menu the Tool or Content is displayed in the Main Content Frame.

(4) Below the Course Menu is the Control Panel.  That is where you'll find Instructor Tools such as the Grade Center, Test Manager, Import Tool, etc.  Click on a category to expand it and then a link to access a specific component, which will display in the Main Content Frame.

Note - the Course Menu can be expanded and collapsed or hidden by clicking on the arrows at the top or right.  If your course menu disappears you probably clicked on one of theses!

The Blackboard Course Menu

Blackboard Course MenuThe Blackboard Course menu can be customized. Link to Content Areas and Tools can be added, removed, relocated or deleted. 

Instructions: Managing the Course Menu (pdf)

More Help: Editing the Course Menu (video)

Default Course Menu

The initial default course menu contains these links.

(1) Announcements: This is normally the entry point for the class. Post Announcements to students here.  For each Announcement you'll have the option to email students as well.

(2) Syllabus, Getting Started, and Course Content.  These are the three default Content Areas.  Note the hollow square next to each.  This indicated it is initially empty. Empty Content Areas will not show to students, so none of these links will show until you post something in them. All UAS classes are required to post a syllabus at minimum, but depending on the needs or your class you may or may not use all these Content Areas.  You also have the option to add new Content Areas if the structure of your class would benefit.

Guest Access to Content Areas: "Guests" are visitors to your class who are not on your class roster.  The default course site allows Guest access to Announcements, Syllabus and Getting Started but not to Course Content.  If you create a new Content Area then it will also be set to "Deny Guests", but this can be changed using the drop-down menu to the right of the Course Menu link. Guests are restricted from visiting areas Discussion and Classlist where student information is visible.

(3) Discussions (Discussion Board), WebMeeting and WebMeeting Archives.  All of these are initially hidden as shown by the squares with slash through it next to the link. To enable use of these tools by students click on the two downward arrows to the right of the link and choose "Show Link" in the drop-down menu.

Additional tools include:

(4) ePortfolio - link to the class related UAS Online ePortfolio

(5) Tools - this link is hidden. Click here and you'll see a variety of additional tools.  If you choose to use any you can either add that tool directly to the course menu using the plus sign on the upper left or set the Tools link on the Course Menu to "Show".  In that case you should click "Hide Link" next to any tools you are not using.

(6) My Grades - this is the students gradebook. It is initially hidden by default.  Again use the drop-down menu to show it. They see only their own grades here. Instructors access the gradebook through the Control Panel below the Course Menu.

(7) Contact Info - here you can add your profile and contact information as well as any other contact information that might be helpful to students.

(8) Classlist - links to the UAS Online class list

Additional links include links to Egan Library and the Blackboard Help manual.

The default course menu is created when the course sites are initially rolled out.  Its design is subject to revision over time and may change based on feedback from faculty and students.


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