How to Get a Class Roster from Banner

Checking your Blackboard class roster against the official class roster is important to ensure that only students who should be in the class have access.  Students who have dropped or withdrawn from your course may still appear in your class on Blackboard.  You can check your official course roster via Banner/Enterprise system.

1.  Log in to Banner/Enterprise system.


2. Click on Faculty and Advisor Services


3.  Click on Faculty Services


4.  Click on Class List – Summary


5. Select a Term and click submit.


6. Select a CRN and click submit.


7.  Your official list of students will be displayed.



COLRS thanks  Laurel Newman for creating this post.

UIS Disability Statement for Syllabus

As of Fall 2015, the following disability statement should be used on UIS syllabi:

If you are a student with a documented temporary or ongoing disability in need of academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 217-206-6666.

Disabilities may include, but are not limited to: Psychological, Health, Learning, Sensory, Mobility, ADHD, TBI and Asperger’s syndrome.  In some cases, accommodations are also available for shorter term disabling conditions such as severe medical situations.  Accommodations are based upon underlying medical and cognitive conditions and may include, but are not limited to: extended time for tests and quizzes, distraction free environment for tests and quizzes, a note taker, interpreter and FM devices.

Students who have made a request for an academic accommodation that has been reviewed and approved by the ODS will receive an accommodation letter which should be provided by the student to the instructor as soon as possible, preferably in the first week of class.

For assistance in seeking academic accommodations, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Human Resources Building, Room 80, phone number 217-206-6666.

How to restore content from a Blackboard archive or export file

To restore course content from a Blackboard archive or export .zip file (for example, if you created a backup of your course from the retired BbArchives server):

  1. Go to your course for the current semester on
  2. Under Control Panel, click on on Packages and Utilities > Import Package/View Logs, and click on the Import Package button.
  3. Under “Select a Package,” click on the Browse My Computer button and select the .zip file.
  4. Under “Select Course Materials,” check all the boxes.
  5. Click Submit. Blackboard now uploads the .zip file. This could take several minutes, depending on the size of your course. When Blackboard is finished uploading the file, you’ll see a green “success” bar appear on the screen.
  6. When your course content is ready for you to edit, you’ll receive another email in your UIS email account.

Clean up Copied Discussion Boards

If you copied your discussion board from an old course to your empty new course, you will need to delete postings inside each discussion forum. To delete posts quickly:

  1. Go to your course Discussion Board.
  2. Click on the name of a forum to view any threads posted to the forum.
  3. To quickly select all postings, click on the top checkbox (see Fig. 1).
  4. Uncheck any posts you wish to reuse. For example, some instructors post questions inside the discussion forums to which students respond.
  5. Click on the “Delete” button to remove any posts with checkmarks.
  6. Repeat with remaining discussion forums.

Effective Online Teaching Practices

Technology is secondary.

COLRS Teaching and Technology blog:

UIS Information Technology Services:

Communication is key.

Keep students informed.

Be clear.

Syllabus is the center of your course.

Course Calendar – Keep dates in one location.

Make your course materials accessible.

Be present.

Discussion Board

Writing discussion questions.

CREST+ Model: Writing Effective Online Discussion Questions

UW Oshkosh Discussion Tips and Pointers



Be consistent.

Create a consistent day and time for deadlines.

Create a consistent format for your course.

Give feedback within established parameters.

Ask for and provide feedback.


Rubric Evaluation Reports

Two Sample Blackboard Rubrics

Blackboard Rubrics Workshop

Grading Rubrics in Blackboard written info

Graded Assignments Workshop Recording

Turnitin Assignment

Discussion Grader


NetID-Authenticated anonymous feedback tool


Specifics for UIS

Check roster in Faculty Self Service. Blackboard is not the system of record.

Enter Grades in Faculty Self-Service

End-of-course Evaluations

Strategies for increasing response rates

Evaluations at UIS

Student -drop emails from ITS – Hiding and Removing Students from your course

Disability Services

Stay informed.

Faculty Focus is an excellent resource to locate the latest trends in online education. See recent articles and sign-up for email or RSS updates when new articles are posted.

University of Central Florida’s Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository


Statistics Tracking in Blackboard

With statistics tracking, you can run a report to view detailed information about your content, including how many times an item was viewed by students and when it was accessed.

1. Enable Statistics Tracking:

As you create your Blackboard content, be sure to click “Yes” under Options > Track Number of Views:

track views yes

You may also click on the chevron to the right of the content and choose “Statistics Tracking (On/Off)”


This opens the “Statistics Tracking” page.  Choose “on” and submit.  You will now see a notation below the content indicating statistics tracking has been enabled:


2. Run the reports:

Go to the content area.  Click on the chevron to the right of the content and choose “View Statistics/Report”


Next, click on the chevron to the right of the words “Content Usage Statistics” and choose “run.”

From the “Run Reports” page, you will:

  1. Select a format for the report
  2. Select a start and end date
  3. Select the users on whom to run the report. CTRL+A will highlight all users.
  4. Click “submit.”

It may take several moments to generate the report.

When you see “Successful Run: Content Usage Statistics,” choose “Download Report.”  Depending on the format you’ve chosen, you will see a file download or the page will simply open the report.

Your “Content Usage Statistics” will show you a bar graph that will look something like this:

content usage

UIS Blackboard Archive Policy

As an ongoing effort to ensure that Blackboard runs as quickly and as efficiently as possible, a Blackboard Archival Policy will go into effect July 1, 2015.

The Blackboard subcommittee (comprised of representatives from ITS, COLRS, and online coordinators) researched practices of other universities, consulted with the Registrar, and proposed a recommendation to the Academic Technology Committee as well as the Campus Senate. Both groups endorsed the policy.

Courses will be retained on Blackboard for 3 years, on a single server (, after which they will be purged. As of Fall 2015, the courses available in Blackboard will be Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015. All older courses will be purged.

Moving forward, each semester the oldest courses will be deleted from Blackboard, keeping the course load at 3 years. Faculty will receive a reminder prior to the deletion.

Please be aware that there are options for retaining course content longer than three years. Instructions for each option are linked below.

  • Use Blackboard’s built-in tool for archiving courses
    • The Export/Archive Course tool creates a zip file that contains all the content for the course.
    • Save the .zip file to your UIS or Google Drive storage space
    • The zip file can be then be re-imported into Blackboard at a later time, if needed
  • Request a GOLD course from COLRS
    • Many faculty already take advantage of GOLD courses, which serve as a template. GOLD courses are not taught from; they are merely a course shell where faculty can keep updated content that can easily be copied to live course as needed.

Read the policy approved by the Academic Technology Committee and the Campus Senate. If you have any questions, please contact COLRS at or Kara McElwrath at

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How to create a Google Site for your online class, a presentation, an e-portfolio, and more

Because ITS subscribes to Google Apps, we have a plethora of free Google tools at our disposal that we can use to enhance online education and research. The best part is that everyone with a UIS NetID has access to all that Google has to offer, without having to register for a new account! One of these tools is Google Sites.

There are a variety of ways that you can use Google Sites right now in your online classes, or for professional development or research purposes: You can use Google Sites to create an e-portfolio, to showcase your CV, or even as a more accessible alternative to PowerPoint.

To get started, just sign in to Google Apps for Education:

Click Login.

  • Sign in with your regular NetID and password.
  • Next, click the Apps button at the top of your screen, to the left of your email address. Select Sites.

Click the Apps button, and then select Sites.

  • Click Create.

Click Create.


  • You will now be directed to a page where you will be able to choose different details about your site. First, you may choose a template for your site based on its purpose. To view more templates, choose “Browse the gallery for more,” which will give you the option to choose the best template for your site.
    Note: For faculty completing online professional development through COLRS, search for “Online Faculty Development ePortfolio.” Select this as your template.

    Or choose “Blank template” to start a site from scratch.
  • After selecting a template, you will name your site and complete the URL at which your site will be located.
  • There are also two optional menus that can be expanded: Click on “Select a theme” to choose a color scheme for your site, and click on “More options” to enter site categories and a short description of your site. Most people do not change anything here and leave them blank.
  • Once you are done choosing your template, naming your site, and typing a short URL, click Create at the top of the page.


  •  You will now be at the homepage of your site!

What to do next

You are now ready to begin adding content, including additional pages, images, documents, videos, and more!

Google provides quite a bit of documentation on how to manage your site. Please explore the links below for the most up to date information on how to accomplish various tasks within Google Sites:

We are always available to assist you in brainstorming ideas on how you might implement Google Sites in your courses, or to help you set up a Google Site before a big presentation at a conference. We can also provide guidance with the Online Faculty Development ePortfolio template.

If you need additional tech support, contact ITS at 206-6000, or

How to create narrated video lectures in PowerPoint

  • First, open your PowerPoint presentation.
  • For each slide you wish to narrate:
    1. Go to the slide.

    2. Click ‘Insert’ -> ‘Media’ -> ‘Audio’ -> ’Record Audio’.

    3. To begin recording, click the record button. It has a red circle.

    4. Read the content for that slide. Make sure to speak into your microphone. 
    5. To stop recording, click the stop button. It has a blue square.

    6. Optional: To test that your recording sounds acceptable, click the play button. It has a green triangle.

    7. Click ‘OK’ when finished to complete the recording for the slide.

    8. Repeat these steps for each slide you wish to narrate.
  • Finally, you can export to video when audio recording has been completed.
    1. Click ‘File’ -> ‘Export’ -> ‘Create a Video’.

    2. For the video quality, select ‘Computer & HD Displays’ to ensure the highest quality.

    3. For timings and narrations, select ‘Use Recorded Timings and Narrations’ to ensure your recordings are included in the video.

    4. Optional: If you have slides without narration, you can adjust the default duration of 5 seconds for these slides.

    5. Click ‘Create Video’. You can name your video and select where to save it.

Now that you’ve created your video, follow these instructions to upload the video to Kalutra through Blackboard.

OLC Effective Practices


From the OLC (Online Learning Consortium) Effective Practices site:

To help make quality online education accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, the members of the OLC community share techniques, strategies, and practices in online education that have worked for them. All effective practices are peer reviewed to insure quality and to give submitters some documentation for tenure and promotion files. OLC focuses on five pillars of quality (see framework and narrative) in online education: access, learning effectiveness, faculty satisfaction, student satisfaction, and scale (institutional commitment to achieve capacity enrollment via cost effectiveness).

Submit an Effective Practice

Effective Practice Evaluation Criteria

Effective Practices sorted by OLC Pillar

UIS Effective Practices


Effective Practice Examples

Student-Led Discussion Build Complex Understandings of Psychology Concepts (Discussion Rubric based on Community of Inquiry Research)

Creating a Scalable Online Orientation to Better Prepare Online Students for Success (Optional orientation for students about online courses)

TADL: Ensuring Faculty Competencies in the 3D’s of Online Course Delivery (Best Practices in Faculty Preparation for Online Teaching)

Emerging Technologies for Education

On February 17, the COLRS Staff offered a presentation titled “Emerging Technologies for Education” through the UIS Faculty Development Office. The following is a list of technologies presented along with others that are among the new favorites for online educators.


YouTube Auto-Captioning

Even if you haven’t added captions to your video, YouTube may use speech recognition technology to automatically make captions available.
Since these are automatically generated, the quality of the captions may vary from video to video. As the video owner, you can always edit the captions to improve accuracy, or remove them from your video if you do not want them to be available for your viewers.
If your video does not have automatic captions, it could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
• The language in the video is not yet supported by automatic captions
• The video is too long
• The video has poor sound quality or contains speech that YouTube doesn’t recognize
• There is a long period of silence at the beginning of the video
• There are multiple speakers whose speech overlap

Fangs Screen-Reader Emulator

Fangs renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The ambition is to help developers understand how an assistive device would present a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.



Presentme-Edu is the fastest and easiest way to add video or audio to your document or presentation, so that who ever is viewing gets the whole story – as if you were in the room with them!



Vialogues (which derives from “video dialogues”) is an award-winning discussion platform that proves that videos are both powerful teaching resources and the ultimate conversation starters. Vialogues provides a space for users to hold meaningful and dynamic time-stamped discussions about videos.



The ShowMe iPad app lets you create lessons using a whiteboard. The app is free and there is no limit what you can teach! Our community has created millions of ShowMes, from chemistry to history to football strategy – and more knowledge is being shared everyday.



Swivl was founded in 2010 by Brian Lamb and Vladimir Tetelbaum, with the idea of making video a more useful tool with robotics. They launched the first concept to market through crowdfunding on IndieGoGo, and have been engaging with users and improving solutions ever since.  This culminated with the launch of the second generation Swivl and Swivl Cloud in April 2014.



Leap Motion

The Leap Motion Controller senses how you naturally move your hands and lets you use your computer in a whole new way. Point, wave, reach, grab. Pick something up and move it. Do things you never dreamed possible.




Expand your classroom:  Students can join from home or even from other schools to make the classroom community even bigger.

Embrace the backchannel: The backchannel improves meetings, presentations, Socratic seminars and fishbowls, movies and silent activities, reviews and snow days, and more.

Empower learners:  TodaysMeet gives everyone the floor and lets even the quietest students express themselves.


A simple, easy-to-use, cross-platform tool that helps you organize your life.



BibMe is an automatic citation creator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. BibMe leverages external databases to quickly fill citation information for you. BibMe will then format the citation information and compile a bibliography according to the guidelines of the style manuals.




Flipboard is a social-network aggregation, magazine-format mobile app localized in more than 20 languages. The software collects content from social media and other websites, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company.

Flipboard is produced by Flipboard, Inc., a United-States-based software company founded in 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll and headquartered in Palo Alto, California.



WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging app for smartphones that operates under a subscription business model. The proprietary, cross-platform app enables users of select feature phones to use the Internet to communicate. In addition to text messaging, WhatsApp can be used to send images, video, and audio media messages. WhatsApp has also started rolling out the much awaited voice calling feature.  Locations can also be shared through the use of integrated mapping features.



s a suite of integrated mobile productivity apps. The company’s first product, the task management app, was launched on Android in November 2011 and later for iPhone and Chrome on June 3, 2012.’s namesake to-do list app was released on November 10, 2011 on the Android platform and TechCrunch reported it to have 500,000 downloads in its first 30 days after launch. It was later released on iOS in June 2012 and reached another milestone with 100,000 iPhone downloads in its first day on the platform. includes numerous planning and task management functions:

  • Unlimited, customizable task folders
  • Task sharing and delegation
  • Built-in microphone can be used for voice entry of tasks
  • Auto-suggest feature with predictive text
  • Time- and location-based reminders
  • Cloud sync across all of a user’s devices



Remind (formerly Remind101) is a private mobile messaging platform that enables teachers to send Reminders to students and parents via text and email.The platform has over 10 million users and sends over 65 million messages per month. As of February 2014, 15% of the K-12 teacher population in the U.S used Remind101.


File Storage Options at UIS

Where’s the best place to store your class files, research projects, and other important documents?  You have many file storage options, including Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Kaltura.  ITS has created a useful matrix comparing the benefits and limits of each data storage service available at UIS.

Additional information can be found on their website.


2014 Innovating Pedagogy Report

The annual Innovating Pedagogy report explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.

Produced by the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, the report identifies ten educational terms, theories and practices that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice in the near future.

Featured in 2014’s annual report:

  1. Massive open social learning
  2. Learning design informed by analytics
  3. Flipped classrooms
  4. Bring your own devices
  5. Learning to learn
  6. Dynamic assessment
  7. Event-based learning
  8. Learning through storytelling
  9. Threshold concepts
  10. Bricolage

The report can be downloaded at:

Students Who Are Parents

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research completes research “conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies” (source).

In November 2014, IWPR published a fact sheet on college students who are also parents, and over a quart of them are. Read the students who are parents fact sheet.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. – See more at:
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. – See more at:

Open Educational Resources – Cable Green

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, led a discussion of “eTextbooks and Open Educational Resources” to help University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) student leaders understand the local and global education opportunities when digital content, the internet and open licensing are combined. View the recording of Cable Green’s lecture.

Students Checking Discussion Board Grades, Rubric Scores, and Comments

Online students should regularly check their discussion grades with the rubric scores (if the Blackboard rubric tool is used) and comments. For those students who may not know how to do this, here is a brief review:

The student should Go to “My Grades” and find the week’s discussion. For every graded item in Blackboard, the student will see that the title of the graded item is a hyperlink. The student may click on the hyperlink which will open a page showing all his/her contributions to the week’s discussion, plus any comments left by the instructor. The student will also see an icon to the left of the number grade that looks like this:


If he/she clicks on that grid, a pop up window will open showing the Rubric Detail.

Alternately, the student may go to My Grades, find the week’s discussion and look for the words “View Rubric” –


Clicking there will also open the Rubric Detail page.

When the instructor has written comments in the “Feedback to Students” panel, the student will see a word bubble icon next to his/her grade –


The student may click on the bubble to view the instructor’s comments.

Creating a Question Pool in Blackboard

How to Build a Pool

When you create pool questions that are intended for use in surveys (which are not graded), correct answers must be added during question creation. This enables the questions to be used in tests as well as surveys. These answers will be ignored after the question is added to a survey.

On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section.
Click Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
On the Tests, Surveys, and Pools page, click Pools.
On the Pools page, click Build Pool on the action bar.
Complete the Pool Information page and click Submit.
To add questions, you can Create Questions, Upload Questions, or Find Questions in other tests, surveys, and pools.
Click OK to return to the Pools page.

How to Edit Existing Pools

On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section.
Click Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
On the Tests, Surveys, and Pools page, click Pools.
On the Pools page, access a pool’s contextual menu.
Select Edit.
Add questions, delete questions, or change point values.
Click OK to return to the Pools page.

How to Edit Questions in a Pool

Linked questions are indicated by a globe icon. Changes to linked questions produce a warning message that the changes take effect everywhere the question appears.

If the question has attempts, changing it will require any submitted attempts to be regraded and may affect test scores. If this happens, affected instructors and students are notified.

On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section.
Click Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
On the Tests, Surveys, and Pools page, click Pools.
On the Pools page, access a pool’s contextual menu.
Select Edit.
On the Pool Canvas, you can filter the list of questions by selecting from the list in the Browse Criteria panel.
Access a question’s contextual menu.
Select Edit and make your changes.
Click Submit to commit your changes in all tests where that question appears. Alternatively, you can Save as New to create a new question, which does not require regrading of existing attempts.

Including Video in an Online Course

Videos can enhance your course by offering examples, explanations of concepts, and can be a visual for your students to refer to when learning new content.

There are several ways to add video to your course:

Hollywood movies or documentaries (copyrighted)

Brookens Library has many films freely available through film collections to which the campus subscribes. If you find a video you would like to include, contact the library for help linking to it in your Blackboard site.

If the film you wish to show is not available in these collections, it may be available in the library’s film collection or available for purchase. The library can work with you to find obtain copyright clearance for the film.

You can also request that your students find a film at a local library or video store. Contact your Brookens Library Liaison for help teaching your students to use the WorldCat database to find films at their local library.

Free videos from the Web

YouTube and are just two of many great sites for free video on the Web. The embed codes provided by sites like these make it easy to add the videos to Blackboard.

To embed a video player from or in your Blackboard course site:

  1. Copy the embed code from the video website.
  2. Go to your Blackboard course.
  3. In the upper right corner of your Blackboard site, make sure Edit Mode is ON.
  4. Click on the content area in which you would like the video to appear (for example, Course Materials or Course Information).
  5. Click on Create Item.
  6. Enter the title of your video next to Name.
  7. In the Text box that appears on the screen, click on the HTML button to view the HTML code.
  8. Paste the embed code you previously copied.
  9. Click Submit.

Create your own video

Check out a digital video camera from ITS or record your screen using Camtasia Relay. Once you have created your video, you need to put up for your students to see it.

Please upload the video to Kaltura Media through Blackboard. Learn more about Kaltura Media here.

Hints about videos in online courses

  • Remember that large files can take a long time to download if a student has dial up internet service. Please be careful not to upload videos directly into your Blackboard course. Always link from an outside source as stated above.
  • Videos should supplement content. Use videos to explain text book content more in depth, create examples of concepts, and extend the learning environment with outside curriculum resources.
  • Other purposes for video in your course might be:
    • Introduce yourself to students
    • Student presentations
    • Specific examples of past projects
    • Feedback on assignments

Request Electronic Library Reserves

E-Reserves are a way of placing documents on hold and linking them in your course for your students to observe for a short period of time. These items can supplement your online instruction and can offer your students a plethera of information that can enhance their online learning experience.

Reserve resources and review the Library policies for E-Reserves

Ideas for including E-Reserves in your course include:

  • Streaming media to offer examples of concepts
  • Journal articles used for example and research
  • Case studies for course application and assessment

Create a Blackboard Course Banner

Would you like to create a banner image for your Blackboard course? Though many of us do not have image editing software available on our computers, we can still create effective and attractive course banners with PowerPoint — a tool that most of have and know how to use, at least for presentations.

There are only three easy steps to adding a banner to your course. — Create, Save, Upload.

Create Your Banner

  1. Open PowerPoint
  2. Go to the page setup area under Design tab > Page Setup button.
  3. Under the Slides sized for dropdown list choose banner
  4. Click OK.
  5. Design your banner with tools available in PowerPoint — background colors, slide designs, text, images, clip art, word art, etc.

Saving Your Banner

  1. Save your file by clicking on the Office Button >Save As > Other Formats.
  2. Choose the location where you would like to save your file.
  3. Name the file.
    Remember that spaces in Blackboard file names is not recommended!
  4. In the Save as type dropdown list choose GIF or JPEG.
    • Choose GIF if you used clip art or only text.
    • Choose JPEG if you used photos.

Upload Your Banner

  1. Go to the Control Panel of the course you wish to add the course banner.
  2. Under Course Options, click on Course Design > Course Banner.
  3. Click the Browse button, select your file, and click Open.
  4. Click Submit to add the banner to your course.
  5. To view your banner, go the front of your course. You may need to refresh your browser your clear your history for the image to appear.

If you do want to use image editing software, a good size for your image is 600 pixels wide by 100 pixels tall at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch.

Online Peer Tutors

The term “Peer Mentor” program refers to a student modeling the role of the successful online student within an online class.

Online peer mentors are not simply representatives of the instructor but play a very distinctive role as peer mentors in classroom activities, sharing their experience, fostering discussion, and modeling the role of a successful student. In addition, they are asked not to perform any activities pertaining to grading.

See the Peer Mentoring page for additional information.

Request an Online Peer Tutor

To request a peer tutor for your online course, please contact your dean. COLRS provides a stipend of $1,250 to the college upon the request of the dean. COLRS will fund up to 2 peer tutors per college each semester.



Submit Final Grades

Both on-campus and online courses have the same deadlines for reporting student grades.

To Enter Grades in Banner:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on UIS.
  3. Login with your UIS NetID/Password.
  4. Click on Faculty & Advisor Services.
  5. Then click Faculty Services.
  6. Click on Final Grade Entry.
  7. Select the desired semester and class.
  8. Enter your grades.
  9. Click Submit to complete the process.

SoftChalk at UIS

SoftChalk is a tool to help enhance text-based lectures. It allows instructors to “chunk” their content into smaller pages, add images, flashcards, graded or self-test quizzes, and more. Learn more about SoftChalk.

Instructors may access SoftChalk using Citrix Virtual Desktop. View instructions for installing and using the Virtual Desktop app.

Import Questions to Respondus

Respondus allows instructors to import questions from a text file and upload them to Blackboard courses.

To import questions from a text document to Respondus, instructors must format the text file in a specific (and simple) manner. Learn about the Respondus Question Import Format (pdf).

Once the text document is formatted, upload the questions following these instructions (pdf).

Kaltura Media Overview

Kaltura Media is the video management solution at UIS. Faculty and students may upload video from other sources (MS Lync, camcorders or phones), record video from a web cam, or access Camtasia Relay recordings.

Access and Upload Videos to Kaltura Media

Faculty and students access Kaltura Media through Blackboard.

  1. Go to the “My Blackboard” tab and locate the Kaltura Media module on the page. Click on “My Media.”
  2. Click on “Add Media” and then select “Upload video or record from a web cam.”
  3. Click on the “Video” tab, and then click on the “Upload” tab.
  4. Click “Browse” and select your file. Then click “Upload!”
  5. After your video uploads, click “Next” to edit the title, description, and tags (key words).
  6. Click “Next” again to complete the upload process.
  7. Follow the steps in this post to add your video a Blackboard course.

Camtasia Studio Overview

“Powerful, yet easy-to-use, Camtasia helps you create professional videos without having to be a video pro. Easily record your on-screen activity or import HD camera video, customize and edit content, and share your videos with viewers on nearly any device.” (TechSmith web site)

Camtasia Studio is available for instructors to use in both the COLRS Audio and Video Recording Studios.

Contact COLRS for a tutorial on using the software or to reserve a time in the studios.

Additional Resources

Video Lectures

Beginning in Fall 2014, faculty may reserve time in the COLRS Faculty Video Recording Studio to record lectures or interviews. The room is equipped with a high quality video camera, lighting, microphone, green screen, and a computer for editing videos with Camtasia Studio.

Please contact COLRS to discuss your project.

Using Turnitin as a Student

Turnitin is plagiarism detection software available to faculty at UIS. To learn more about using Turnitin as a student, including helpful videos, please see

You may also find the Turnitin Manual for Students (pdf) a helpful resource.


Submit a Turnitin Assignment for a Student

Whether it is to spot check for suspected plagiarism or submit an assignment for a student with computer problems, instructors may submit a student file to a Turnitin Assignment they have created in their Blackboard course site.

  1. Go to the Blackboard course that contains the Turnitin Assignment.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment.
  3. Click on the assignment name.
  4. Select the student’s name from the “Author” drop down list.
  5. Enter a title for the paper.
  6. Click on “Choose from this computer” button to upload the file, and the find and select the student’s paper.
  7. Click the “Upload” button.
  8. Next, you’ll see a preview of the file you submitted. If this is the correct document, click “Submit.”
  9. Once the paper has been submitted, you will see the Turnitin Digital Receipt.
  10. Click on “go to inbox” to see the listing of papers submitted for this Turnitin Assignment.

Watch a video on how to submit a student paper to a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard.

Viewing your Blackboard as a student by using the “Student Preview” feature

Excluding Source Matches in Turnitin

As you review the Originality Report generated by Turnitin, you may find you’d like to exclude some sources that are shown as matches to your student’s paper.

To exclude sources, pull up the originality report and click on the source in match overview.  (There is an arrow just to the right of the match percentage.)


That pulls up a “Match Breakdown” page.  You’ll see at the bottom of that page “Exclude Sources”.  If you click there, it allows you to remove the sources.


Next, check the boxes of the sources you wish to remove and click the red “Exclude” button at the bottom of the screen.


Turnitin will generate a new originality report for the paper.

Latest Blackboard Phishing Scam

Some of you may receive an email purportedly from “” that looks like this –

From: Blackboard Notice <>
Date: May 15, 2014 at 7:34:19 AM CDT
To: Recipients <>
Subject: [BULK]  Notice: Important course alert


Dear Staff/Students,

We have updated and rescheduled your course  and exam time table, kindly click below to update




This is a “phishing” scam.  Please don’t click on the links or enter any logon information.  The Blackboard administrators at UIS will never send you emails requesting your logon information.  Consider all such requests suspicious and delete them immediately.

“Designing for the Future” COPE-L Session 4-17-14

The session kicked off with Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ TedxNYED talk on teaching in the 21st century. Our UIS faculty presenters shared ideas that could be implemented to “upgrade” a course and make it more relevant and engaging to students. View their resources below.

Please contact COLRS to schedule an appointment to learn about using these teaching techniques or to discuss improving any aspect of your online and blended courses.

Multi-Device Access

Engaging Students

  • Bill BloemerOnline Lab Courses (pdf)
  • Beverly Bunch – Updating Narrated Lectures with Articulate Studio Quizzes and Simulations – Sample Lecture
  • Denise Sommers – Using Audio Feedback to Engage Students and Convey Tone/Instructor Presence – How to use the Turnitin Tool
  • Kathy Massey – Using Rubrics to Engage Students (presentation pdf, sample rubric)


Using Turnitin PeerMark within Blackboard

PeerMark assignments allow students to read, review, and score or evaluate one or many papers submitted by their classmates. At the end of the PeerMark assignment, the papers will be distributed so that all the students are able to read the comments left on their work. The PeerMark assignment may be anonymous or attributed, depending on the classroom structure determined by the instructor.

 Step 1: Create a Turnitin assignment

PeerMark is a feature within Turnitin. Therefore, you must first create a Turnitin assignment within Blackboard in order to use PeerMark. Whether you choose to use the Originality reporting or not will be determined by your settings when you create the Turnitin assignment.

Step 2: Synchronize the Blackboard Roster with Turnitin

  1. Under the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Turnitin Assignment.
  2. Click on the linked name for the Turnitin Assignment created in step 1 above.
  3. Click on Roster Sync.

 Step 3: Create a PeerMark Assignment

To create a PeerMark assignment in Blackboard:

  1. Select a content area (e.g. Coursework > Module 1) in the Blackboard course.
  2. With Edit Mode “on,” click on Assessments and select Turnitin Assignment from the drop-down menu.
  3. Once the Turnitin page opens, select the “Assignment Type”: PeerMark Assignment.
  4. Click the Next Step button.
  5. Select the existing Turnitin Assignment created in Step 1 that will become the basis of the PeerMark activity from the drop down box.
  6. Assign a Point value for the PeerMark phase of the assignment. Those are the points that will be given to the student reviewers for their reviews. Optionally, you may click on the box to Award full points if review is written.
  7. Click on the Show more options link. Review the settings and make decisions regarding
  • Assignment title
  • Assignment description and/or instructions
  • Additional Settings
    • Allow students to view author and reviewer names
    • Allow students without a paper to review
  1. Establish the StartDue, and Post dates and times for the PeerMark assignment.
  2. Click on Show more options. Review the settings and make decisions regarding whether to
  • Allow submitters to read all papers after Start date
  • Allow students to read ALL papers and ALL reviews after Post date
  • Specify the last date for papers to be submitted and still be included in the pool of papers to be reviewed.
  1. Click on Save & Continue.
  2. Click on the Edit link on the PeerMark Settings screen to establish how papers will be distributed and then click on the Save button.
  3. Click on the Show more distribution options on the PeerMark Settings screen. Note that you can manually pair and/or exclude students from the PeerMark assignment.
  4. Click on Save and Continue.
  5. Click on the Add Question button and begin to create the criteria your students will use to evaluate their peers’ papers. Note that you can create your own Free Response or Scale questions, or choose items from aSample Library. Add as many questions as you like. When you are finished, click on Save & Finish.
  6. Click the Save and Finish button to finalize the PeerMark assignment.


Educause Quarterly issue on Online Student Retention includes UIS strategies

Sustaining Students: Retention Strategies in an Online Program

by Emily Boles, Barbara Cass, Carrie Levin, Raymond E. Schroeder, and Sharon McCurdy Smith

Published on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Key Takeaways

  • With students spread across 47 states and a dozen countries, the University of Illinois at Springfield faces a significant challenge in promoting student persistence.
  • Program coordinators who know each student majoring in their online degree program keep in close touch with those students to assure that their learning and academic planning needs are met.
  • Online student peer mentors who model best student practices and serve as a liaison between students and faculty members provide effective support in selected classes.
  • These and other approaches have resulted in an online course completion rate that hovers just two to three percent below the on-campus completion rate, and the degree-completion rate among online students is equally strong.

Read the complete article at:

Examity Quick-Guide for Faculty

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Faculty.

1. Using Examity® with Blackboard

You will access Examity® through Blackboard. All of the data relevant to your exams will be imported automatically daily into Examity®, and Examity® will not change anything about the way you currently use Blackboard.

To use Examity in your class, you must first turn the tool on your course.  To turn the tool on, click on Customization in the Control Panel and select Tool Availability.


On the Tool Available page, you will need to put a checkmark in the box for ExamityUISSSO.


You can then add a link to Examity in your course.  In the content area in which you want the link to appear, click on Tools –> More Tools –> ExamityUISSSO.  Click submit.


This will add a link to the Examity dashboard inside your course. 


To get to your Examity® Dashboard, click on the Examity® link. You will see a screen that says “click here to login”—by clicking that button, you log into Examity® with your Blackboard user infor­mation.examity2

Once you click it, you will be taken directly to your Examity® Instructor Dashboard. You may be prompted to login as an Exam Instructor or Student.  Select Exam Instructor.

Please note: there may be a one-day delay in seeing your dashboard after enabling the Examity tool for your class, as the data link between Blackboard and Examity refreshes once per day.

2. Viewing the Examity® Dashboard

You can get to all four areas of Examity® from your dashboard by clicking on either the links at the top of the navigation bar or the icons you see when you log in.


Clicking on the EXAM STATUS button will enable you to see the status of your students’ exams (scheduled, pending at auditor, approved/rejected by auditor, or cancelled/incomplete). This is the button to click if you want to review videos once they have been approved by our auditing team.

Clicking on STUDENT enables you to search for individual students.  If a student needs special accommodations for an exam, such as double time for the exam, that information may be entered here.

Clicking on the REPORTS button displays all the exams that are associated with you. You can filter by class, or student name, and download Excel and PDF versions of these reports to help you keep track of your students.

Clicking on COURSES/EXAMS takes you to a list of all your classes.

3. Setting Up an Exam & Adding Customized Rules

In COURSES/EXAMS section of the Examity Blackboard, click on the Add Exam icon for a specific course to arrange for an exam with Examity.


This will bring up the Add Exam box.


The first part of the box asks you to fill in several items:

  • Exam Name: Midterm, Quiz 1, etc.
  • FairExam Level: this is the desired level of proctoring service required. Examity offers four levels of service.  As the instructor, you can select which level of service you want for your exam.
    • Level 0 – authenticate & record all tests
    • Level 1 – authenticate & record all tests, review a random sample of tests
    • Level 2 – authenticate & record all tests, review all tests
    • Level 3 – authenticate & record all tests, live proctor monitors & reviews all tests
  • Duration of the Exam: the length of time students get to complete the exam (1 hour)
  • Link to Access the Exam: In most cases, this will be
  • Exam Start Date: the first day in which the student can take the exam
  • Exam End Date: the last day in which the student can take the exam
  • Upload a File: If you need to provide your students with a document for their exam, such as a supplemental case study or a formula sheet, you may upload it here
  • Exam Password: If your Blackboard exam has a password, you may share the password with the proctor here.  He/she will enter the password for the student on Blackboard.
  • Extended Time/Special Accommodations: If you have a student who needs special accommodations for the exam, select Yes.  Please note: after setting up your exam, you will need to select the student(s) who needs special accommodations in the Student section of the Dashboard and enter the details of the student’s accommodation.
  • Student Upload File: If your students need to upload a file when they finish their exam, select yes.

The second part of the box establishes the rules for the exam environment.


Examity provides standard rules, as listed above.  To insert customized rules, such as the test is open book or that students are permitted to use a calculator, you may add them here by clicking the checkbox. Additional rules and special instructions may be inserted in the text box (click save after entering).  Click Save Exam to finalize the exam’s arrangements with Examity.

Once you have added an exam, you can see the arrangements and make changes by clicking on the arrow next to the course in your Courses/Exam section of your Examity Dashboard.


Once an exam has been arranged with Examity, students may begin scheduling their exams directly with Examity.  A sample letter for faculty to send to students about the scheduling their exam with Examity can be found on the COLRS’ website at .

**Please note: Exams will be pulled in automatically within 24 hours once the “Make the Link Available” link in Blackboard is marked to yes.  To prevent students from seeing the exam before the exam date, set the Display After and Display Until dates for the testing period.

4. Tracking Exam Status

The Exam Status section of the Examity Dashboard allows instructors to view whether students have scheduled their exams and when those exams will take place.  If a student has completed an exam, the status of the exam will indicate what stage the exam is currently in (in progress, pending at auditor, approved by auditor).


If the exam has been approved by the auditor, you will see at least two alert flags.

  • Green flags indicate no violations.  If a student is authenticated and completes the exam with no violations, he/she will have two green alert flags.
  • Yellow flags indicate possible violations.  These suggest that a violation of the rules has occurred, but the student was likely not cheating.  For example, if the students’ young child runs into the room during the exam session, the auditor will flag the violation with a yellow flag.
  • Red flags indicate violation. A violation of the exam rules has occurred. When a student receives a red flag violation, the instructor will also receive an e-mail about the incident.

Instructors can view details of the alerts and watch the exam video by clicking on the View link next to the students’ flag alerts.  Videos will remain available for 30 days, after which it is deleted from the Examity system.


5. Reaching Examity Support

Support is available 24 hours a day.

Call: 1-(855)-392-6489 or 1-(855)-EXAMITY


Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen


Examity Online Video Proctoring – Quick Guide for Students

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Students.

1. Accessing Examity

You can access Examity® through your course on Blackboard. Click on the ExamityUISSSO link within the course.


Click to login to Examity.


This will take you to your Examity dashboard.


From here you can edit your profile, schedule exams, and make changes if you need to cancel or change a test time. Most importantly, this is where you’ll go to start your exams.

2. Getting Started

Setting Up Your Profile: To get started, update your Examity® profile by clicking in the My Profile section of the Dashboard. You will need to upload a picture of your UIS Student ID or a government issued photo ID, select your time zone, and set your security questions.

Please note the importance of selecting the correct time zone.  This will be used in scheduling your test with the proctoring center.  You can confirm your selected time zone by looking at the time in the upper right hand corner.

Once you have set up your profile, you can bypass this step for future exams.


Scheduling Your Exam: When you are ready to schedule an exam, click “Schedule Exam” on your dashboard or on the top navigation bar.


You will see a calendar. If you are scheduling your test more than 24 hours in advance, you can just select the date and time you want. If you are scheduling it less than 24 hours in advance, make sure the on-demand scheduling option is enabled in the top right-hand side of the screen.


Paying for Exam Proctoring:  You will pay for your exam proctoring session at the time you schedule the exam.  Rates for the proctoring session vary based on the length of the exam and the level of proctoring service selected by the instructor.  Additional fees apply if you use on-demand scheduling (exam occurs within 24 hours). 

Rescheduling or Canceling Your Exam: If you need to change or cancel your test appointment, click Reschedule/Cancel, and select the exam you want to change from the menu that appears.

3. Taking Your Exam

To take your exam, make sure you have your webcam and microphone set-up on your computer.  Sign into Blackboard, then your class.  Return to the Examity® Dashboard by clicking on the ExamityUISSSO sign-on link within your class.


Click to login to Examity.


This will take you to your Examity dashboard.


Once on the Examity dashboard, click “Begin Scheduled Exam”, and select your exam. You will then be connected to your proctor. Note: MAKE SURE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER IS DISABLED otherwise you will not be able to connect with your proctor!

Your proctor will walk you through the test authentication process, which will include verifying your identity, going over the exam rules, scanning your work area and desk, answering your security questions, and agreeing to the User Agreement.




Once you have finished the authentication process, you will see a screen that says “Begin Exam”, and your exam will open. If your test is password protected, your proctor will tell you the password when the prompt to enter it appears.

4.  Reaching Examity Support. 

Support is available 24 hours a day.

  • Call: 1 (855) EXAMITY or 1 (855) 392-6489
  • Email:
  • Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen

Two Examples of Blackboard Rubrics

3 Point Blackboard Discussion Rubric (click on thumbnail to enlarge)


20 Point  Blackboard Rubric (click on thumbnail to enlarge)


Turnitin Browser Settings

For Turnitin to work properly, your browser must allow cookies from

Below are links to instructions on how to manage cookies for common browsers:

Safari | Internet Explorer | Chrome | Firefox

On February 6th, Turnitin released an update that would allow users to complete the submission process without cookie-enablement. They achieved this by appending the user’s session ID into the URLs for the upload process.

While this will allow a user to complete the submission process successfully, Turnitin still requires users to enable cookies from Turnitin in their browsers. This is necessary to ensure a fully-functional experience using Turnitin.


How to Give Select Students Extra Time on a Blackboard Exam

  • Build your test as usual and deploy in a content area.
  • Click the drop down arrow next to the deployed test and select Edit the Test Options.  The test options allow the instructor to set the testing criteria for the entire class.

1-28-2014 2-19-01 PM

  • Part 3 of the Test Options screen is Test Availability Exceptions. Students receiving test exceptions will receive testing criteria that varies from the rest of the class.

1-28-2014 2-22-57 PM

  • In Part 3, Click Add User or Group to bring up a pop-up screen. Select the user or group with the exception and click Submit.

1-28-2014 2-22-17 PM

  • Adjust the options as needed for that user or group. 
    • Attempts may be Single Attempt, Multiple Attempt, or Unlimited Attempt.
    • Timer may be used to set the amount of time the user or group receives.
    • Availability may be used to set the time window for which the user or group may access the exam.
    • Force Completion requires the user or group to complete the exam in one sitting.

1-28-2014 2-21-34 PM

  • Submit the Test Options.

Adding Kaltura Media Videos to Blackboard Courses

Kaltura Media is a media management tool built into Blackboard. Recordings made with Camtasia Relay are automatically published to Kaltura. You may also upload videos you’ve created with other tools to Kaltura.

View the ITS video on accessing the links to Camtasia Relay lectures published to Kaltura. Additional information on managing your Kaltura Media files is available in the ITS handout on Using Camtasia Relay with Kaltura (starts at page 5).


  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “Tools” box on the left side of the page and click on “Kaltura Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Share” button. (See image below.)
  6. For “Copy this code to your website or blog,” click on the “Copy to Clipboard” button.
  7. Next, go to your course content area (Weekly Materials, Assignments, Syllabus, etc).
  8. Click on “Build Content,”  and then “Item.”
  9. Enter a descriptive name for the item.
  10. In the text box, be sure your menu is expanded (see image below).
  11. Click on the “HTML” button on the text box menu. This will open a pop-up window. Paste (CTRL + V or Command + V) the code you copied to the clipboard in #6 and click “Update.”
  12. Click Submit.


The thumbnail option adds a preview image to the content area of your Blackboard. When students click on the video, it opens to full size.

  1. Navigate to your course and the content area to which you would like to add the video.
  2. Click on “Tools,” and select “Kaltura Media.”
  3. Enter a descriptive name for the video.
  4. Click on the “Add Media” button.
  5. To select a previously uploaded video, click on the “Video” tab, and then “My Content.”
  6. Enter a search term and click “Go” to locate your video. Leave the search box empty to see all your videos.
  7. Hover your mouse over a video preview to display the name of the video.
  8. Click on the video you wish to add to your course, and click “Next.”
  9. Edit the title and description, if you wish, and click “Next.”
  10. Click “Submit.”


  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “Tools” box on the left side of the page and click on “Kaltura Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Share” button. (See image below.)KalturaMedia
  6. For “Email or IM this to your friends,” click on the “Copy to Clipboard” button.
  7. Next, go to your course content area (Weekly Materials, Assignments, Syllabus, etc).
  8. Click on “Build Content,”  and then “Web Link.”
  9. Enter a descriptive Name for the item.
  10. Paste (CTRL + V or Command + V) the code you copied to the clipboard in #6 in the “URL” area.
  11. Under “Web Link Option,” select “yes” to open the video in a new window. If you do not open the video in a new window, students will not be able to view the video.
  12. Click “Submit.”

Add to Course Gallery

The course gallery option allows you to add a link to your course menu that takes students to all videos for your course.

Add a Course Gallery Link to your course menu

  1. Go to your course.
  2. Click on the “+” above your course menu.
  3. Choose “Tool Link”
  4. Enter a name for the link (Media Gallery or Course Videos, perhaps).
  5. Select “Media Gallery” for the Type.
  6. Check the box to make the area available to users.
  7. Click Submit.

Add a video to your course gallery

  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “Tools” box on the left side of the page and click on “Kaltura Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Add to Course Gallery” button below the video preview (see image below).
  6. Select your course from the list and click “OK.”

Wiki Tool in Blackboard

Wikis are collaboratively edited documents that reside on the web or inside Blackboard. This means that your students can work together on a document while online and in different locations. A central feature of a wiki is versioning. Wikis track which students have made changes to the document. The document history is saved for instructors to review, which is especially useful in grading group work. If a group member is accused of not participating, it is very easy for an instructor to verify.

To learn more about the wiki tool built into Blackboard, see:

How-To Videos:


Viewing Student Journal Entries

The interface has changed slightly.  When instructors click on a specific journal, instructors no longer view all students who have posted journals in the menu to the right. Instead, you will see your own journal (see image below). If you click on the arrow before or after the instructor’s name, you will see the next student journal.



If you click on the instructor’s name, you will see a listing of all students who have posted work in the journal (see image below). You may also check the box next to “Show Empty Journals” to see all your students. The number next to a student name indicates the number of new items in the journal. The images indicate whether the items are journal entries (thumb tack) or comments (thought bubble).


Collapse and Expand Blackboard Course Menu

The course menu appears on the left side of a course and contains links to materials and tools within the Blackboard site. Course menu structure may vary significantly between courses because your instructor can customize the style and the content.

Image illustrating associated text.

You can expand or collapse the course menu frame by moving your pointer near the border and clicking the arrow. The view of your menu (collapsed or expanded) sticks. In other words, when you log out and log back in, the expanded or collapsed state of your course menus will remain in the most recent status.

Image illustrating associated text.

Creating a Journal in Blackboard

Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with you. Students can also use journals as a self-reflective tool to post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course related materials. You can create journal assignments that are broad and student-directed as your students reflect on the learning process and document changes in their perceptions and attitudes. Students can describe problems faced and how they solved them. Also, you can create instructor-directed journal entries that are more formal in nature and that narrow the focus by listing topics for discussion.

Journals are ideal for individual projects. For example, in a creative writing course, the owner of each journal creates entries and an instructor comments. In this manner, a student can refine a section of a writing assignment over a period of time, using an instructor’s guidance and suggestions. A student can also comment on his or her entries to continue the conversation.

You can choose to make journal entries public, allowing all course members to view all entries. For example, you may choose to make a journal public when asking for opinions on how to improve the evaluation process. Students can read what other students wrote and build upon those ideas.

When used in the group area, members of a group can view and comment on each other’s entries for the group journal. The group, as a whole, can communicate with you and all members benefit from the comments.

You can grade journal entries or use them solely for communication. In either instance, a student can make multiple entries for one journal topic.

How to Create a Journal for Your Students

  1. Make sure the Edit Mode is ON.
  2. In your course menu, click on the tab where you would like to deploy your journal.  Click on Tools > Journals
  3. On the Create New Journal button.
  4. On the Create Journal page, type in a name for your journal.  Type optional Instructions for the journal.  For Journal Availability, select the Yes option to make it available to users.
  5. For Journal Date and Time Restrictions, you can set a journal to display on a specific date and time and to stop displaying on a specific date and time. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times or type dates and times in the boxes. Display restrictions do not affect the journal availability, only when it appears.
  6. In the Journal Settings section, select Monthly or Weekly Index Entries.
  • Optionally, select the check box to Allow Users to Edit and Delete Entries.
  • Optionally, select the check box to Allow Users to Delete Comments.
  • Optionally, select the check box to Permit Course Users to View Journal. If selected, the journal becomes public. All users can view all journal entries made to the journal topic.
  1. In the Grade Settings section, select No grading or the Grade option and type the number of Points possible. Points possible will apply to one or more entries made by the user to the journal topic. After you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Center. It is permanently gradable, and you cannot change the setting to No grading.
  2. Optionally, select the check box for Show participants in needs grading status and select the number of entries required. Applying this setting will show the needs grading icon in the Grade Center and place the entries in the queue on the Needs Grading page after the specified number of entries are made.


  1. Optionally, associate a rubric by pointing to Add Rubric to access the drop-down list. To learn more, seeRubrics.
  2. Click Submit.

The journal topics appear in alphabetical order on the Journals listing page. You can sort columns by clicking the column title.

Course Availability for Students with Incompletes

A few weeks after the semester ends, a course will automatically become unavailable to all students.  If you have a student with an incomplete who needs access to a course after this occurs, the course can be made available to just that student. This is a two part process.  First, you would need to mark the course as unavailable to the other students who were enrolled in the class.  Then, you will make the course available (open) again.  Although this will open up the course again, only the student marked as available will have access. To make the course unavailable to the other students in the class:

  1. In the Control Panel, go to Users & Groups and Users.
  2. The right-most column shows the Availability of the course for each student, when the course is made available.  If the course is available, students having ‘Yes’ in that column will have access.  If the course is not available, all students will not have access.  
  3. To change a student’s availability from ‘Yes’ to ‘No’,  hover on the username for a student to make the drop-down arrow appear.  Click on the drop-down arrow and menu  and select Change User’s Availability in the Course.
  4. Change the drop-down option for Available (this course only) to be No and click Submit.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for all students who need to be made unavailable.
  6. Once completed for all students except for the student with the Incomplete, confirm that only the student with the Incomplete has ‘Yes’ in the Availability column.

To make the course available again:

  1. In the Control Panel, go to Customization and Properties.
  2. Under step 3, change the Make Course Available to Yes and click Submit.

View Blackboard Assignment Feedback from Your Instructor

To view Feedback on Individual or Group Assignments in Blackboard

This contains instructions for viewing feedback on Blackboard Assignments for which you uploaded a file to an assignment with this icon beside it:


  1. In your course, click on My Grades in the course menu.
  2. You will see a list of all the assignments in your class.
  3. Locate the assignment you wish to see feedback on.
  4. If your instructor has given you a grade, click on the title of the assignment to view feedback.
  5. If you submitted a Word document (.doc or .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt or. pptx) or PDF (.pdf), the feedback screen will look like this:
    instructor feedback croc doc(click on the image to enlarge it)
  6. If your instructor left feedback on the paper itself, scroll through the document to read it. To download a copy of feedback of this feedback, click on the download bb assignment feedbackdownload button above the document on the screen.
  7. If your instructor attached feedback in a file, click on the name of the file to view or save it.

My Grades Item Status

The following table describes the symbols appearing on the My Grades page.

Symbol Description
Item has not yet been completed. No information is available.
Item has been submitted. This item is waiting to be reviewed by your instructor.-OR-Item has been submitted. Your instructor may review this item but may not be provided a grade (for items such as surveys).
Grade Item has been graded. Click the grade or assignment title to view detailed feedback.
Attempt is in progress. This item has not been submitted. To submit the item, see Submitting a Draft Assignment.
Grade is exempted for this user. If you do not complete this assignment, it will not affect your grade.
Error has occurred. Contact your instructor.

Bulk Download of Blackboard Assignments

  1. Go to your Blackboard course.
  2. Under Control Panel, click on Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  3. Scroll to the right until you see the assignment you wish to download.
  4. Hover your mouse over the title of the assignment in the gray header row.  The drop-down arrow will be highlighted and become active. Click on the drop-down arrow to see the menu options.
    grade center drop down arrow
  5. Click on Assignment File Download.
    grade center assignment file download
  6. The next screen will display a list of your students. Any students who have submitted the assignment will have a check box to the left of their names. Click on the check box at the top of the column to select all students with submissions.
    grade center assignment file download select all
  7. Click Submit.
  8. On the next screen, you will see a link to download a .zip file containing your the student work.
    Bb download assignment

“Hiding” a Column in Your Blackboard Grade Center

There are a couple of options to “hide” a column in the Grade Center.  One option (Hide Column) hides it from your view:


and the other (Show/Hide to Users) hides it from students.

If you’ve hidden the column from yourself, but meant to hide it from your students, you’ll need to make it visible again before choosing “Show/Hide to Users”.  To do that, go to Full Grade Center > Manage > Column Organization > check the box to the left of the column and select “Show/Hide” from the bottom of the screen and click “submit”.

Once the column is visible to you in the full grade center, click on the chevron on the right of the column header and choose “Show/Hide to Users”.  A column hidden from students will show a red slash across the circle in the header:

A column you’ve hidden from your view, will show up under Column Organization looking like this:


Copying Tests, Quizzes, Surveys and Pools

Blackboard allows you to copy tests, quizzes, surveys and pools of questions from one course to another.  Here are the instructions:

1. Begin in the course that contains the test, survey or pools you would like to copy.  Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Choose Tests, Surveys or Pools.

2. Hover just to the right of the name of the test, survey or pool you wish to copy, and you’ll find a chevron.  Click on the chevron and choose “Export” from the drop down menu.

3. A zip file will be downloaded to your computer.

4. Next, go to the course into which you would like to copy the test.  Go to Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Import Pack/View Logs > Import Package.

5. Click on “Browse My Computer” and select the .zip file from your downloads.  Check the box for Test, Surveys and Pools and click “submit”.

6. Once the test, survey or pool has been copied, you’ll need to deploy it in your Blackboard.  See:

Rubric Evaluation Reports

Faculty can run reports that analyze student performance on assignments using the rubric tool. To download the rubric evaluation report:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Rubrics.
  2. Click on the chevron next to the rubric you wish to analyze and choose “View Associated Content.”
  3. On the next screen, click on the chevron next to the assignment you wish to analyze and choose “Rubric Evaluation Report.”
  4. On the “Run Reports” screen, choose the format in which you wish to view the data and the date range.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. The report may take a while to generate. When it is finished, click on the “Download Report” button.

Online and On The Move

SlideShare Presentation: Online and on the move 






COLRS Update: New Leadership, Research Projects and More

Here is the link to the website created by Associate Vice Chancellor, Ray Schroeder, for his presentation to the campus community about new developments in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service:

A recording of the presentation can be found here:

Graded Assignments and Rubrics in Blackboard

Click here to view the recording of the workshop.
Workshop held on September 17, 2013.

Turnitin Manual for Instructors


Click on the image above for the Turnitin Instructor Manual



Blackboard New Features Workshop: Upgrade to 9.1 SP 12

Click on this link to view the workshop recording:

View Users in Blackboard

  1. Go to the Control Panel and click on Users and Groups > Users.
  2. Put in a % in the search box and click “Go.”
    Choose “Username” and “Not Blank” and click “Go.”
  3. All users will be listed.
  4. If you have more than 25 students, click on the “Show All” button in the lower right corner of Blackboard to view all students on one page.

Copy and Pasting from Word Processors into Blackboard

When copying from Microsoft Word and other word processing programs into Blackboard, several problems may arise:

  • Your text is not visible to other users
  • Replies to threads copy/pasted from Word may not be visible.
  • Formatting may be inconsistent.

To resolve this problem, when you copy and paste from Word and other word processors, please use the “remove formatting” button in the Blackboard Text Editor.

Removing Text Formatting in a Discussion Board Thread:

  1. Go to Word (or other Word Processor).
  2. Select the text you wish to appear in Blackboard (CTRL + A to select all text in Windows; ⌘A to select all text on Mac).
  3. Copy your selection (CTRL + C or ⌘C)
  4. Go to a Discussion Board Forum in Blackboard.
  5. Click on “Create Thread.”
  6. Click inside the “Message” area of the text box.
  7. Paste your text (CTRL + V or ⌘V).
  8. Select the text (CTRL+A or ⌘A).
  9. Click on the “Remove Formatting” button in the Text Editor. If you do not see three rows of buttons on your Text Editor, click on the “Show More” icon in the upper right corner.
  10. Click “Submit” to post the thread.


Adding an Avatar Image to the New Version of Blackboard

To add an avatar image to your Blackboard profile:

  1.  Log into Blackboard
  2. In the upper right of the screen you will see your name next to a blank avatar.  Click on the triangle to the right of your name open your personal menu.
  3. Click on the word “Settings” in the lower portion of the panel, then from the dropdown list, choose “Personal Information”
  4. Click on “Personalize My Settings”
  5. Change option #1 to “Use custom avatar image” and click to “Browse My Computer” for an image.  (Note:  Recommended pixel size for an avatar is 150 by 150.  Larger images should be clipped.)
  6. Select the image and click to “Open”.  This will add the image to your Blackboard account.  Avatars will appear next to discussion board postings and, for faculty members, in the Grade Center and the Users list.

Blackboard Upgrade – Summer 2013

Discussion Board

  • New options for creating discussion board
    • Standard discussion board forum (create threads
    • Create a thread in order to view any posts.
    • Other setting options have been reordered, but not changed. 
  • Avatar images appears next to name in DB.
  • Mark as unread and flag are available as buttons 

Google Tool Integration

In any content area of Blackboard (Course Materials, Assignments, etc), you can link to and enable your students to use and edit Google Sites, Documents, and Calendars.

The Blackboard and Google Apps for Education integration logs you into both services with a single sign-on.

Mash-Up Tools

  • Youtube
  • SlideShare
  • Flickr

Blank Page tool

If you are going to post only text and images on a page of Blackboard, this is a great tool for you!

Profile (Avatar images)

Course Themes & Teaching Styles

The “Teaching Style” area replaces the Style tool in the Customization menu of the Control Panel. You can choose from several predefined menu styles and choose different colors schemes for your course.


  • More modern look
  • Due dates from across your course are automatically integrated
  • Add events more easily
  • Drag and drop to change due dates
  • Export to third-party calendars (Outlook, Gmail)


Easy to create! Save time! Reusable!

  • Click on the score and totals automatically
  • Detailed feedback
  • Can be used with
    • discussion boards
    • blogs
    • wikis
    • journals
  • Does not work with groups assignments


Test Options have changed quite a bit.

  • Exceptions make it easy to create differently timed tests and availability for making up tests or for ODS accommodations. 
  • How you show results and feedback to students is now more flexible.
  • Add a question at any point in the test canvas, not just to the end.

Learn more about the Test Canvas. Learn more about Test Options.


  • Upload page changed for students. It is less confusing and students are able to preview their document before submitting.
  • The inline grader works when students upload their work in supported formats: Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX), and PDF (PDF). 
  • Inline grading rocks!

Content/Textbox Editor

  • Vastly improved functionality.
  • Full Screen edit mode. 
  • Video Anywhere 

Course Copy Process is Easier!

Select All

When you copy course content from one Blackboard course site to another, you’ll find a “Select All” box for all those little check boxes. Be sure to only check the boxes you want copied! Announcements, especially, take a long time to clean up for a new course.

Discussion Board Copy Options


“Include only the forums, with no starter posts”

–> Now, no former student posts to delete!

“Include starter posts for each thread in each forum (anonymized)”

–> This is the way discussions have copied in the past.
–> When you next go to the Discussion Board in your new course (that you just copied into), you will now have the option to set the author of the anonymous posts.


Retention Center

The Retention Center replaces the Early Warning System. It aggregates data automatically and displays information about the status of your students. You can set up customized alearts and reach out to students through the RC, and it tracks and records those contacts. Plus, it also tracks your engagement with the course.

Strategies for Increasing Course Evaluation Response Rates

The Timing – A barrier for course evaluation completion is timing the evaluation close to finals (Cottreau & Hatfield 2001).  At UIS, course evaluations become available three weeks prior to the end of the semester.  Thus, begin asking for feedback earlier in the semester!

You might be concerned that that timing may be too early to get accurate feedback from students, as not all activities and assignments have yet been completed.  Research has shown, however, that the results of course evaluations completed earlier in a course are highly correlated with results of course evaluations completed finals week or after (McNulty et al. 2010).  Not only do you increase the likelihood of having a higher response rate, students completing evaluations earlier provided more qualitative feedback than students completing evaluations later (McNulty et al. 2010).  At UIS, these additional (write-in) comments are provided only to the instructor and are not added to the instructor’s faculty file.

The Frequency – For online course evaluations, post announcements as many times and in as many places as you can:

  • Post the link in your syllabus.
  • Create a specific announcement about the evaluation.

Sample Announcement – Today, course evaluations are open online. These are very important in improving the quality of classes at UIS. They also are an important instrument used in the promotion and tenure process for faculty members. Please take a few moments to fill out the evaluations for this class and any others you may be taking that have online evaluations: . These evaluations are available only through Saturday, May 4. (Thanks!)

  • Include the link to the evaluation in emails and announcements until the end date (And remember the course evaluation is available at x until x date).
  • Add as an item to the course calendar

Tell Students Why It’s Important – Remind students why course evalutions are important at UIS and remind them that you cannot see the feedback until after final grades are due and that it will not impact their grade in any way.  Students are more likely to respond if they knew how their evaluations will be used and what decisions their responses will influence (Kidd & Latif 2003, Anderson et al. 2005; Cottreau & Hatfield 2001; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  The largest factor for not completing evaluations is that students believe the evaluations will not result in change or would not benefit them (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

The Method – For on-campus classes at UIS, faculty have the choice of having online or in-class evaluations.  Research is mixed on whether online or paper evaluations result in higher response rate, as shown below:  

  • Compared with paper surveys, online evaluations have been associated with increased response rates (Barnett & Matthews 2009; Anderson et al. 2005; Thorpe 2002; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  
  • Online ratings produce a lower response rate than in-class ratings (Avery, Bryant, Mathios, Kang, & Bell, 2006; Benton, Webster, Gross, & Pallett, 2010 ; IDEA, 2011; Nulti, 2008).

Your class’s typical attendance rate should be considered when deciding whether the in-class or online evaluation will be more effective. 

UIS Course Evaluations

Prior to the end of the semester you should receive and email prompting you to direct students to the online course evaluation. You may just want to copy the link into an Announcement. The evaluation is located at

Detailed information about the UIS course evaluation process is below.

Schedule for UIS Course Evaluations

5 Weeks prior to last day of class — The Faculty Files Office emails instructors teaching onground and blended courses requesting they notify office if they prefer to have their course(s) for that term evaluated through the online process.

3 Weeks prior to last day of class — The Faculty Files Office emails instructors who intent to have their course evaluations completed in the classroom to pick up their packets.

3 Weeks prior to the last day of class — Faculty of online classes receive an e-mail from the Faculty Files Office notifying them that the online evaluation system is available for students.  It is the faculty member’s responsibility to provide their students with the instructions regarding access to and completion of the evaluations.

Due Date — The due date for course evaluations will be included in the announcements sent from the Faculty Files Office.  Presently, course evaluations are due by the last day of class (before finals week begins).

Administration of UIS Course Evaluations

On-Campus – Instructions for administering course evaluations in the classroom are included with each evaluation packet.  Identify a student to be responsible for administering, collecting and depositing the completed evaluation packet in one of the course evaluation drop boxes, which are located throughout classroom buildings and identified on the instruction sheet.  Faculty are required to leave the classroom while students complete their evaluations.

Online – Faculty teaching online courses are required to use the online course evaluation system ( 

Processing of Evaluations

The Faculty Files Office collects the completed evaluation packets from the drop boxes and enters the data into the course evaluation database (for on-campus evaluations).  The Faculty Files Office generates a summary report for each faculty member’s permanent personnel file for each course taught during a given semester.  An email notification is sent to the faculty notifying them that their evaluation summaries are available online and the course evaluation forms, which include handwritten student comments, are then returned to the faculty member.

Accessing Results

Current and historical evaluation summaries can be accessed through the following url:  Through this site faculty are able to access their individual, department and college summaries and can also access campus-wide summaries.  Student handwritten comments are included in the database, but can only be seen in the individual faculty view (secure access) and are not included in the summary entered into the personnel file.

Special Situations

Team Taught Courses – Each instructor is evaluated individually, with the process being identical to the standard course evaluation.

Alternative Evaluations – The process is expected to be identical to the standard course evaluation.

Supplemental Evaluations – Faculty may choose how supplemental course evaluations are administered and documented.
If faculty elect to develop and use a supplemental evaluation form they may use the standard course evaluation distribution and/or collection process.

Library Faculty – See Faculty Personnel Policy, Appendix 11 for guidelines & process.

Why are Course Evaluations Important at UIS?

Goal #1 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that “UIS will achieve academic excellence through excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in scholarship.”  Action Step #4 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that UIS will “Improve the assessment of learning outcomes and of teaching; use aggregated information from course evaluations to inform faculty development programming:  a) Establish and fund a program to support improvements in the assessment of learning outcomes and program review.  b) Adopt a new course evaluation instrument.  c) Implement a multidimensional approach to teaching evaluation.  d) Use the data from the improved teaching evaluation approach as the basis for issues addressed in faculty development programs.”

Presently, course evaluations are used for retention and promotion decisions and for course improvement.  Completion of student course evaluations is imperative in evaluating curricular trends and teaching effectiveness, particularly if no other assessment methods are performed (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

Research suggestions that student ratings of courses and faculty are a reliable and useful method of evaluating teaching and course effectiveness (Kidd & Latif 2003).  In fact, student evaluations are as reliable as peer evaluations, provided that response rates are good (Paulsen 2002).  However, course evaluations should be used in conjunction with other evaluation tools, such as the peer evaluation and a teaching portfolio, when evaluating the effectiveness of an instructor.  Research has found that faculty members receiving the best evaluations are not always the most effective teachers according to students (Surratt & Desselle 2007).  The Dr. Fox Effect, as seen in the following video, suggests that a highly expressive presenter can earn high evaluations even when the content presented is nonsensical.

Create Anonymous, NetID-Authenticated Evaluations with the UIS Online Supplemental Evaluation Tool

The UIS online supplemental evaluation system allows faculty to administer anonymous surveys to their students. Faculty choose up to ten questions from a bank of 64 questions. Students log into the supplemental evaluation site with their UIS NetID and take the survey. If the survey is administered prior to the last two weeks of the semester, instructors see the anonymous student feedback immediately. If the survey is administered during the final two weeks of the semester, faculty may see the feedback after grades are posted. View the full description of the supplemental evaluation system.

FACULTY Online Supplemental Evaluation System

STUDENT Online Supplemental Evaluation System

Create an Evaluation 

  1. Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on “Create/Modify Evaluation Form” in the left menu.
  3. Click on the “Create New Evaluation Form” link.
  4. Enter the name of your evaluation in the “Version Description” field.
  5. Check the box next to the questions you would like to include. You may select up to ten.
  6. Click “Submit” to save your evaluation.

Schedule Your Evaluation

  1. Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on “Schedule Evaluation” in the left menu. 
  3. Click on the “Create New Schedule Entry” link.
  4. Fill out the scheduling form.
    1. Choose your course for
    2. Select the version (name of your evaluation).
    3. Choose the begin and end date.
    4. Enter any comments (notes for the instructor).
    5. Click “Submit.”
  5. Send or post the following link for your students to complete the evaluation:

Retrieve Evaluation Results

If your evaluation ends prior to the last two weeks of the semester, you may log in to see results immediately. If your evaluation ends during the last two weeks of the semester, you will be able to access the results after final grades are posted.

  1.  Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on the “Evaluation Results” link in the left menu. 
  3. Click on the link in the “Course” column to view the results of your evaluation.

What is Prezi?

Prezi is a web-based tool that allows you to create a presentation using a large, flat canvas for layout. You pan the entire map, zoom in and out to focus on specific items, and visually show relationships between items.

Benefits Over PowerPoint

  • Native to the web — easily shared!
  • Highly flexible
  • Non-linear
  • Collaborative editing environment
  • Free

Design Tips

  • Use white space – It helps people focus.
  • Consider color choices – Light backgrounds with dark text are easiest to read.
  • Images, charts and multimedia are your friends – Show, don’t tell. 
  • Use the zoom and path features to emphasize points. – Do not make people sea sick!
  • Vary your font size — smaller or larger — to zoom in or out. – Visually represent details and the big picture.
  • Prezi Frames act like graphics to give visual interest. – See this Prezi.
  • Don’t play videos immediately – Add a Frame around your embedded YouTube video, and link to the Frame on your path. This simple step keeps the video from playing automatically.

You can use video, images, color, hyperlinks, file attachment, movement and more to build an engaging Prezi.

Ways to Organize

  • Brainstorm your ideas on paper
  • Group ideas together
  • When you move to Prezi, consider how frames and groupings can create a visual shape when you are zoomed out on the canvas.

Prezi in 15 Minutes

Sample Prezis


Prezi Videos & Cheat Sheets

Accessing Moodle at UIS

UIS maintains an instance of Moodle for faculty and staff use at

If you have a UIS NetID, you may access the Moodle site by click on the “Continue” button on the right side of the Moodle home page.

If you are a guest user of the Moodle system, your UIS contact will send you instructions for accessing the site.

What is Maple TA?

Maple T.A. is an online assessment tool that is built into Blackboard. Although any instructor can use the application to build online tests, it may be most appealing to faculty in math and science due to its built-in math functions and mathematical versatility. Faculty can use this software to display mathematical notation in their questions and students can create free-form mathematical responses. Hundreds of sample questions, that can be used as-is or modified, are available within the software.

Maple T.A. also provides an abundance of statistical information at both the course level and individual student level. For example, on the entry exams, in addition to a list of students’ final scores, faculty can access the dates on which students took the exam and the amount of time they spent on it. The percentage of students who answered each question correctly as well as an individual student’s answers can be determined. This type of information is extremely useful in identifying weaknesses in the calculus sequence, as well as weaknesses for individual students.

Maple T.A. ™ has partnered with the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) in order to maintain the functional standard of the product.

How to Access

  1. From within your Blackboard course click Control Panel.
  2. Maple T.A. selections located in the Course Tools area.


  • Create Review Tests
  • Math Placement Testing
  • Deign Math, Engineering or Science Tests that Allow Responses Using Appropriate Functions and Signs

More Information

What is Respondus LockDown Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a customized browser that increases the security and integrity of online testing in Blackboard.  More information on Respondus LockDown Browser can be found at the link below:

Sloan-C Symposium on Emerging Technology Applications

“This conference, which will provide the latest information on emerging technology applications for online learning, is geared to both experienced professionals and interested newcomers to online learning who hail from a variety of work sectors, including higher education, continuing education, business, government, health care, professional associations, and nonprofit organizations” (from conference website).

More Information

Horizon Report

Each year the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) publish the Horizon Report, a look ahead at technologies that will impact education in the next one, three, and five years.

The report “charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative expression” based on interactions with “technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, and representatives of leading corporations” (from Horizon Project).

More Information

What is Camtasia Relay?

Use Camtasia Relay to record Lectures, Presentations, Conferences, etc. for playback. UIS students also have access to record presentations with Camtasia Relay. Recordings are stored on a UIS server.

In order to use Camtasia Relay you will need to download the recorder and create your Camtasia Relay account. Learn about using Camtasia Relay in the ITS tutorial.

Camtasia Relay recordings publish to Kaltura Media inside Blackboard. Learn about adding Camtasia Relay/Kaltura videos to your Blackboard course.


  • Record a live lecture and then publish for students who may have missed the class or build a library of lectures for your online class.
  • Record a presentation and publish directly to your Blackboard course or iTunes.
  • Students can record presentations, then you can post to Blackboard.
  • Record a meeting and publish for others in your department.

More Information

Time Management in the Online Classroom

Laurel Newman, Te-Wei Wang and Marcel Yoder led an excellent discussion about time management in online teaching. Watch the recorded Blackboard Collaborate session to learn their strategies.

Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions

Carefully Organize Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure to create an outline for your session.
  • What topics do you want to cover?
  • What materials will you need to share?
  • What questions will you ask?

Connecting to Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure you are using a high speed Internet connection. Audio and video sharing requires a stable, higher-bandwidth connection that some wireless networks aren’t capable of supplying.
  • Join the live session before the scheduled start time.
  • Conduct an audio check.

Synchronous Session Best Practices

  • Offer Students Options – Consider making the synchronous sessions optional or offering several sessions from which your students may choose.  Requiring synchronous sessions reduces the flexibility that appeals to, and is often necessary for the schedules of, many online students. They will appreciate your extra efforts in schedule accommodations.
  • Inform Your Students – Send an email or post information in Blackboard for your students explaining the technology and how they will use it.
  • Schedule a Trial Run – Test your web conferencing tool first, if possible, with someone who can log in from a different location as a “test audience.”  Then you can run through your materials early, checking that everything loads properly.
  • Use the Moderator Override Functions – Learn how to use moderator override functions, such as turning students’ mics down.
  • Mention Student Names – Use students’ names as frequently as possible. It grabs their attention and makes the online environment feel more personal.
  • Use Emoticons – Learn to use emoticons to substitute for facial expressions, and learn to interpret your students’ virtual facial expressions.
  • Get Comfortable with Instant Messaging – Learn to monitor the instant messaging feature while you, a guest speaker, or other students are using microphones. This ensures participants without microphones can fully participate.
  • Record Sessions – Recording your sessions allows students who could not attend to listen to the recorded session presentation.
  • Solicit Feedback – Ask for feedback from your students to help you improve content and delivery for your next course by using the polling feature

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous learning employs a software that provides a way for a groups to meet online, at the same time, and verbally communicate with each other. It allows for real-time learning and collaboration. Not only can participants communicate with each other, but they can also push content to the rest of the audience, such as a presentation or a web page. Additionally, class meetings should be recorded for students unable to attend the meeting or for future use.


  • Group Discussions
  • Debates
  • Instructor Lectures
  • Faculty and Student Presentations
  • Virtual Advising
  • Guest Speakers

Synchronous Learning Tools @ UIS

Microsoft Lync

Google+ Hangouts through the UIS Google Apps for Education

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Information about Blackboard Mobile Learn can be found at:


Blackboard Course Health Check

The Course Health Check feature is a tool within the Control Panel.

You can choose to perform two different types of checks;

  1. The External Link Check verifies that your links to content outside Blackboard are live.
  2. The Invalid Character Check searches your course for characters that may prevent you from successfully exporting, copying, or archiving your course materials.

To run a Course Health Check:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on the chevron next to Tools to expand the menu.
  3. Click on Course Health Check
  4. Click on the name of the test you wish to run.

Reporting Errors in Blackboard
If you encounter an error while working in Blackboard, please report it to ITS Tech Support (217-206-6000 or

Three pieces of information are important:

  1. Date and time the error occurred
  2. To capture the screen, press the “Print Screen” key (usually found on the upper right side of your keyboard), and then paste the image into your email message to Tech Support. (To paste the image: Press and hold the CTRL key, and then strike the “v” key.)
  3. Name of the Blackboard web server 
    Blackboard runs on three web servers at UIS.
    The server you use is determined at random when you log in to Blackboard.
    To determine which web server you are using, click on Course Tools in the left navigation of the course, and then click on “Which Web-app Server.” You may also click on “Which Web-app Server” under Tools in the Control Panel of your course.
    The name of the server will either be,, or

Adding a Tool to the Course Content Menu

To add a Collaboration Tool to your Course Content Menu:

  1. Click on the blue plus sign
  2. Choose Create a Tool Link
  3. Name the Link, then Browse for the Tool
  4. Always check available to users if you want the users to be able to see the link in the Course Content Menu
  5. Click Submit

Blackboard Best Practices: Grade Center

Private Comments in Gradebook
You are able to enter Private Comments to students via the Gradebook by doing the following;

  1. Control Panel Evaluation > Grade Center .
  2. After the grade is entered, click on the chevron next to the grade > select Quick Comment.
  3. Enter your comments. (The student can see Feedback to User and only you will be able to view the Grading Notes)
  4. Use Spell Check if needed.
  5. Click the Submit.
    Students can access comments through My Grades.

Renaming Errors
Renaming or deleting automatically generated Gradebook items causes errors when grading, viewing or downloading content. When you turn on the Discussion Grader, Blackboard automatically creates a Gradebook item for the graded forum. The Gradebook item name matches the name of the Discussion Forum.

Deleting a Discussion Forum Grade Name
Renaming or deleting Discussion Forum grades results in losing access to the grades associated with that Discussion Board.

Blackboard Best Practices: Discussion Boards

Slow Discussion Board Loading in Tree View
In the upper right corner of an open DiscussionThe Tree View and List View buttons.Board is a button called Tree View. Reviewing posted messages in Tree View allows you to see the more messages than List View, but it slows down the page loading. Switch to List View to avoid the slow page loading issue.

‘Select All’ Button Bug
Select All listing.If you are working in Tree View the Select All option doesn’t appear, as it should, at the bottom of the screen. To solve this click List Viewand then Tree View again and the button should appear.

Attachment File Names
File attachments to a Thread should not contain any special characters.
Word file that contains special characters.

Copying and Pasting to Blackboard
ONLY Copy/Paste from Notepad (PC) or Text Edit (Mac) into Blackboard and do NOT Copy/Paste text from MS Word, email, or web browsers. Underlying code from these programs is transferred into Blackboard and causes many problems.

Only use the two programs specified above to Copy/Paste when naming folders, Discussion Board forums, entering text in postings, creating test questions, etc.

To avoid this issue for during test creation, consider using Respondus.

Clear Formatting
Text formatted in other applications may copy into Blackboard with strange formatting such as characters where text had been. A quick way to solve this ‘mess’ would be to select the text and then click theClear Formatting button on the Visual Textbox Editor (only available in Internet Explorer and Firefox).
Visual Editor Box in Blackboard.

Blackboard Best Practices: File Naming

  • Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names.
  • Don’t use spaces, commas, pound signs (#), question marks, equal signs, dashes or other special characters.  Example: assignment#1.doc
  • File names should be 60 characters or fewer in length.

File Attachment Names
If you use a special character to name a file attachment, you will get an error when you try to open the file. This is NOT the name of Blackboard item or folder, but the name of the actual file uploaded (, for example).

When you try to open the improperly named item, you will receive an “HTTP, Error 404, Files not found” error. The problem applies to files uploaded or attached by both instructors and students.

Instructors, there are two ways to address this problem. The student could rename the file without the special character(s) or space(s) and resubmit it. Another option is to contact OTEL, who will contact Blackboard administrators to have them rename the item in the database. Once the item is renamed in the database, instructors will be able to access the file originally submitted by the student.

Assignment Tool Assignments
If you use special characters to name your assignment created with Assignment Tool (Assignment #1, for example), you won’t be able to download all the student files at once.

The error will prevent you from downloading student assignments in a .zip file, though you’ll still be able to grade the assignments one at a time. Modifying the name of the assignment does not fix the issue. Assignments
Using special characters and spaces in assignment names and files submitted to causes errors in Blackboard database logs. The only way to avoid this error is to not use special characters or spaces in file names.

Instructions on Taking an Online Test in Blackboard

Step 1. Do Not Open the Test until you are ready to take it, as online tests are often set to only allow you to access the test once. Find a time to take the test in which you will be free from interruptions. Let friends and family know you will be occupied.

Step 3. Do Not Use the “Back” Button on Your Browser During the Test once you have begun taking it. Instead, use the button on the screen to move back to check earlier questions.

Don’t close the window of the test for any reason.

If something goes wrong, send an e-mail to your professor immediately, documenting the exact problem and asking how you should proceed. Include your username and the course and section number.

Step 4. Review All of Your Answers Before Submitting the Quiz. Make sure you have not accidentally changed your response to a question or made a typographic mistake.

Step 5. When you are satisfied with the result make sure you finish by clicking the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the screen. Click the Submit Button ONLY ONCE!
After you submit the test answers, you will see a confirmation page that the test has been submitted.

To Check Your Grades, go to My Grades on the course menu.

Testing in Blackboard: Firewalls & Spyware

If operating behind a firewall, students may see an error message telling them that their system was configured to deny access to this URL. The solution is to take the test somewhere that doesn’t have a firewall.

Spyware and other programs running in the background can interfere with taking quizzes. You can detect and remove spyware from your computer by downloading and running these applications.

Spybot – Search & Destroy []
Spybot – Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn’t intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don’t see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies.

Ad-Aware []
Ad-Aware is designed to provide advanced protection from known Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components. With the release of Ad-Aware SE Personal edition, Lavasoft takes the fight against Spyware to the next level.

Testing in Blackboard: Clearing a Student’s Attempt

To clear a student’s attempt:

  1. Go the the course Control Panel
  2. Under the Assessment area, Click on Gradebook link
  3. Locate the student who you wish to reset, and click on the padlock “In Progress” icon, or the exclamation mark (!) “Completed” icon.
  4. Click on the View button to access the students’ quiz attempt page.
  5. Clear the assessment attempt by clicking on the Clear Attempt button.

Testing in Blackboard: Browser Issues

Use Browsers Certified by Blackboard

Only browsers that Blackboard certifies should be used to complete tests in Blackboard. Using any other browsers may cause errors with your test. View a list of certified browsers at:

Java Security Settings

If you are taking an exam with math equations, you instructor may use the MathML editor to create the equations. If so, you will need to add a security exception for to your Java Console Security Settings. For instructions, please see:

More Tips and Suggestions:

  • Click Submit ONLY ONCE. If your Internet connection is slow, you may think the quiz is not being sent. Wait at least 2-5 minutes for a confirmation that your quiz was received. The quiz must be sent, scored, and the results returned to you.
  • If you must enter a password to begin the quiz, click the Submit button. Do not press the Enter key
  • If you have dial-up internet, insist that no one in your home pick up a phone while you are taking the quiz. This can disconnect you.
  • Contact your instructor directly if you have a situation that you are unable to resolve.
  • If you are uneasy about your quiz being recorded, you may want to print a copy for your records.
  • Certain browser actions may cause the student to unintentionally exit the quiz. Students taking quizzes should not:
    • Click the Back, Forward, Home, or Refresh/Reload buttons in their browser
    • Enter new URLs in the Address or Location fields of the browser
    • Select any pages from their Favorites/Bookmarks list in the assessment’s browser window

Posting & Deploying a Test for Students

To deploy a test:

  1. Go to the content area where you want to deploy the test (i.e. Assignments, Course Materials, etc.)
  2. Click on the blue Evaulate button and select Create Test.
  3. Click on the name of the test you wish to deploy and click OK.
  4. On the “Test Options” page that appears, you will select how and when your students will view the test.
    • Under “1. Test Information,” you will see the information you entered while creating the test. The description will appear beneath the link to the test in your content area.
    • Under “2. Test Availability,” choose from these options:
      • Make the Link Available. Select “Yes.” You can limit the availability of the test using the Display After/Until tool below. If you choose “No” students will not be able to view the exam.
      • Add a New Announcement for this Test. Select “Yes” to have Blackboard post an announcement that the test is available.
      • Multiple Attempts. If you would like students to have more than one attempt at the test, check the box for multiple attempts. Select either “Unlimited Attepmts” or “Numbers of Attempts.” If you choose “Number of attempts,” enter the specific number of times you would like your students to be able to attempt the test.
      • Force Completion. If you would like to force students to complete the test the first time they launch (click on) the test, select this option.
      • Set Timer. The timer in Blackboard does not close the exam if a student exceeds the time limit. It simply sets an expected completion time and records the length of time each student spends in the exam. Instructors can view this information in the Grade Center column for the test. To set the timer, check the “Set Timer” checkbox and enter the time in hours and minutes.
      • Display After. Check the box and enter the date and time that the test should become available to students. If the box is not checked, the dates and times will not be saved.
      • Display Until. Check the box and enter the date and time that the test should no longer be available to students. If the box is not checked, the dates and times will not be saved.
      • Password. If you wish to have students enter a password to access the exam, check the box and enter the case-sensitive password. This tool is especially useful when proctoring exams or giving make-up exams for specific students.
    • Under “3. Self-assessment Options,” instructors choose how the test results are recorded.
      • Include this Test in the Grade Center Score Calculations. This option is turned on by default. If you do not wish for the test to count toward student total grades, uncheck the box.
      • Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor in Grade Center. If checked, this option hides all student scores from instructors. This information cannot be recovered by instructors, ITS or COLRS. Please do NOT check this option.
    • Under “4. Test Feedback,” select the feedback you wish students to see after they complete the test: Score, Submitted Answers, Correct Answers, and/or Feedback. Unchecking all boxes until the testing period ends is a common practice. Instructors may edit the feedback option after students are finished taking the test or grading is complete.
    • Under “5. Test Presentation,” instructors choose how a test is displayed to students.
      • All at Once. All questions are displayed on a single screen. This is a good option if your test includes fewer than 20 twenty multiple choice or true/false questions. If your test includes more questions or any essay questions, please consider presenting your test with the “one at a time” option.
      • One at a Time. If your test contains more than 20 questions or any essay questions, please select the “one at a time” option. This option forces students to click a “next” button to submit their work as they move through the exam. It can help prevent browser timeout issues. When “one at a time” questions presentation is selected, instructors can choose to Prohibit Backtracking, which that students see each question only once. Students cannot access questions they have previously submitted or change their answers.
      • Randomize Questions. Students will see questions in a different order each time they attempt a test.
  5. Click Submit.

Supplemental Video:

Creating a Test in Blackboard

To create a test:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests
  3. Click on Build Test
  4. On the next screen, enter a Name for the test.
    If you like you may also add a Description (appears below the name of the test in your content area in Blackboard), and Instructions (appears above the test questions while students take the test).
  5. Click Submit.
  6. To add a new question:
    • Click on Create Question and select the type of question you would like to add (True/False, Multiple Choice, Essay, etc.).
    • Fill out the information for that question type.
    • Click OK.
  7. To reuse one or more questions from another test or pool:
    • Click on Reuse Question and select “Find from Pool or Test.”
    • Under “1. Pools and Tests to Search,” select the Pool or Test that contains the questions you would like to copy to your new test.
    • Under “2. Criteria,” check “All” to see all the questions contained in your pool or test. Check specfic type(s) of questions to limit the questions displayed.
    • Under “3. Assign Points,” you may choose to use the points currently assigned to the questions or assign a new point value.
    • Click Search to view the questions.
    • Check the box for each question you would like to copy into your new test.
    • Click on the blue “Add Selected” button to copy the questions into your test.
  8. To include a random block of questions from a pool (for example, to randomly select 10 questions from a pool of 30):
    • Click on Reuse Question and select “Create Random Block.”
    • Under “1. Search the Pools below,” select the Pool from which you would like to draw questions.
    • Under “2. Criteria,” check “All” to include all types of questions in your randome block. Or, if you’d like to limit your random block to specific types of questions (only multiple choice or true/false), check the specfic type(s) of questions to include.
    • Also under “2. Criteria,” enter the number of questions to include and the number of points each question should be worth.
    • Click Import.
  9. When your test is complete, click OK to leave the test.
  10. To post/deploy the test for students, please see “Posting & Deploying a Test for Students.”

Supplemental Video:

Showing & Hiding Students in the Blackboard Grade Center

To show or hide students in Grade Center:

1. Go to Control Panel.
2. Left click on the chevron next to Evaluation to extend the menu
3. Click on Grade Center.
4. Click on the “Manage button,” and click on “Student Visibility.”
5. Check the box next to the students names.
6. Click on the “Show Users” or “Hide Users” button.
7. Click “Submit” to save your changes.

Creating a Weighted Grades Column in the Blackboard Grade Center

To created a weighted column in Grade Center:

1. Go to the Control Panel
2. Left click on the chevron next to Evaluation to extend the menu
3. Click on Grade Center
4. Click on “Create Calculated Column” button and select “Weighted Column”
5. Enter in Column name such as Weighted Total and other options
6. Option 3 – Select Columns > Select the categories (to select multiple hold down the ctrl button on the keyboard and select more than one) > move to the selected (highlighted) colums by click the greater than button
7. Enter in the percentage to weight each category seperately.
8. Once total equals 100%, select other options and click “Submit”.

Supplemental Video:

Entering Quick Comments in the Blackboard Grade Center

To enter quick comments in Grade Center:

1. In Grade Center, left click on the chevron next to the grade where you want to leave a comment 
2. Click on “Quick Comment”
3. Under “Feedback to User” leave comments for the student OR Under “Grading Notes” leave comments about the grade for you, the instructor.
4. Click “Submit”

Supplemental Video:

Editing the Rows Displayed in the Blackboard Grade Center

To edit the number of rows displayed in Grade Center:

1. In Grade Center, left click on “Edit Rows Displayed” button on the bottom right of the window 
2. Type in the rows you want displayed, click “Go”

NOTE: This view does not stick when you navigate away from the page or logout of Blackboard.

Supplemental Video:

Downloading Grades from the Blackboard Grade Center

To download grades from the Grade Center:

  1. Go to your course.
  2. On the Control Panel, click on Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  3. Click on the Work Offline button and select Download.
  4. Under Data, select Full Grade Center to download all the complete grades for your course.
  5. Under Options, select Tab for the delimiter type. If you’d like to download columns hidden from view, select Yes for Include Hidden Columns.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. On the next screen, click on the Download button to save or open the spreadsheet.

Reordering Columns in the Blackboard Grade Center

To reorder Grade Center Columns:
1. Go to the Control Panel, click on Evaluation to extend the menu
2. Click on Grade Center
3. Click on the “Manage” button, then click Column Organization
4. Scroll down to “Not in a Grading Period” list
5. Hold down the left mouse button over the 4 pronged arrow and drag up and down the list to reorder. OR
There is reorder button in the top left of the “Not in a Grading Period” section. Click on that and reorder items.
6. Click “Submit”

Creating Columns in the Blackboard Grade Center

To Create a Column in Grade Center:

1. Go to the Control Panel
2. Left click on the chevron next to Evaluation to extend the menu
3. Click on Grade Center
4. Click on the “Create Column” button
5. Enter in Name, Description, Score, Points Possible, etc.
6. Click “Submit”

Supplemental Video:

Grading Assignments from the Grade Center in Blackboard

To Grade an Assignment from Grade Center:
1. Go to the Control Panel
2. Left click on the chevron next to Evaluation to extend the menu
3. Click on Grade Center
4. Find the column of the activity you want to grade
5. Click the chevron in the column of the student you want to grade
6. Click on “View Grade Details” then scroll down and click “Open Attempt”
7. Read the entry, enter in the grade and any instructor notes, click “Submit”
8. Jump to User by selecting user from drop down menu at the top of the “Grade Details” page

Supplemental Video

View and Grade Turnitin Assignments

To view and grade Turnitin Assignments:

Watch a video on how to access the Turnitin Assignment Inbox.

  1. Go to the Blackboard course that contains the Turnitin Assignment.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment
  3. Click on the Turnitin Assignment you wish to view or grade to go to the inbox for that assignment.
    Hint: Here you’ll see a listing of your students. If you don’t see all your students, click on “Roster Sync.”
  4. Now you have several options:
    • To view the originality report (sources that match your student’s paper), click on the colored bar in the Similarity column.
    • To grade the assignment click on the bubble icon in the Grade column.
  5. For more information on originality reports and grading options in Turnitin, please consult the Turnitin Manual for Instructors found here:

Bulk Download of Turnitin Assignments

To download a copy of all work submitted to a Turnitin Assignment, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Blackboard Course.
  2. Under Control Panel, click on Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments.
  3. Click on the name of your assignment.
  4. Check the box to select all students.
  5. Click the Export button.
    bulk download turnitin assignments
  6. Click on the Download button and choose either:
    * Original File to download the word processor documents submitted by students
    * GradeMark Paper to download a PDF that includes an comments you may have made.
    download turnitin assignment
  7. A window will appear, choose OK to download the files.
    turnitin will download files
  8. A pop-up window will appear. Select Originally Submitted Format(s) to download the files submitted by students or PDF Format to download a PDF version of the original paper.
    turnitin select format
  9. After a moment, the same pop-up window will display a link to download the .zip file containing the papers. Click on the word HERE to save the file to your computer.
    turnitin download zip file
  10. Once the file has downloaded, close the pop-up window to return to Blackboard.

Supplemental Video:

Grading a Discussion Board Forum in Blackboard

*If you have set up your forum as a Graded Forum 
To grade a forum:

  1. Click on Discussions in your Course Content Menu or go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Discussion Board
  2. Click on the Forum you want to grade
  3. Click on the “Grade Forum” button 
  4. Click on the chevron next to the Username of the student
  5. Click on Grade
  6. Enter Grade at the top of the page
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, click OK
Supplemental Video:

Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard

To create a Turnitin Assignment:

Watch a video on how to create a Turnitin Assignment.

  1. In a content area (i.e. assignments) hover over the “Assessments” button 
  2. Click on “Turnitin Assignment”
  3. Choose type (most are just paper assignments)
  4. Click on the “Next Step” button
  5. Add Assignment Title and point value 
  6. Select the start date (date of when students can start turning in their submissions) 
  7. Select due date (the last day you will allow submissions) 
  8. Post date (the date that the grades you assign will appear to your students) 
  9. Click on “more options” to change other settings (see explanation below).
  10. Click the “Submit” button.

 Assignment – Optional Assignment Settings

When creating a paper assignment, the Instructor may select to view and change any of the advanced assignment options. The advanced assignment options are viewed by clicking on Optional settings at the bottom of the assignment creation or assignment update page.

Advanced assignment options are listed and described below. When an advanced
assignment option is changed the Instructor may also select whether or not this change should be the future default for any new assignments created. This allows the Instructor to automatically create all new assignments with their preference of advanced options rather than manually selecting the advanced options for every new assignment.

Late Submission

An instructor can enable submissions after the due date and time. To enable late
submissions, use the drop down menu next to “Allow submissions after the due date?” and select yes. The default setting is no. When enabled, students will be able to submit papers after the due date and time has passed as long as that student has not already submitted a paper to the assignment.

Student submissions after the due date and time will be marked with red text in the date column of the submission in the assignment inbox. A student cannot overwrite a submission past the assignment due date and time, even if the late submission option is enabled.

Generate Originality Reports for student submissions

  • immediately (first report is final) – Originality Reports for all submissions will be generated immediately.Students cannot resubmit papers. Submissions must be deleted by the instructor to enable resubmission.
  • immediately (can overwrite reports until due date) – Originality Reports for the initial submission by each student user to this assignment will be generated immediately. Students may resubmit as often as the student wishes until the assignment due date. Originality Reports for the second or subsequent submission will require a 24 hour delay before the Originality Report begins processing. Only the latest submission is available to the instructor or student. Previous versions are removed. Originality Reports will regenerate within an hour of the due date and time to allow student submissions to compare against one another within the assignment. A change in the Originality Report similarity index may result from the regeneration of the reports. This option is typically used when students are self-reviewing and revising their submissions and able to view the Originality Report. No resubmissions are allowed after the due date and time of the assignment.
  • on due date – Originality Reports will not be generated for any submission until the due date and time of the assignment. Students may resubmit as many timesas needed until the due date and time without receiving reports. Resubmissionsmay not be made after the due date and time of the assignment.

Exclude bibliographic material from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option whether bibliographic material will automatically be excluded from Originality Reports. The default is no. Bibliographic materials can also be included and excluded when viewing the Originality Report. This setting cannot be modified after the first paper has been submitted.

Exclude quoted material from Similarity Index for all papers in this

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option whether quoted material will automatically be excluded from Originality Reports. The default is no. Quoted materials can also be included and excluded when viewing the Originality Report. This setting cannot be modified after the first paper has been submitted.

Exclude small matches?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to
automatically exclude small matches from all Originality Reports generated within this assignment. To exclude small matches click yes.

Once yes has been clicked the Exclude matches by: option window will open. Enter into either the Word Count: or Percentage: fields the numerical value for small matches that will be excluded from Originality Reports in this assignment.

Instructors can adjust the exclude small matches assignment setting at any time by clicking on the edit icon to the right of the assignment name. The excluding small matches feature can be adjusted within each Originality Report as well. With this feature instructors have greater control on sifting out smaller matches, allowing them to focus on larger, more problematic and suspect matches within Originality Reports.

Allow Students to see Originality Reports?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option to allow students to see Originality Reports within each created assignment. This option gives instructors more flexibility and control when creating assignments. Select yes to allow students to see the Originality Report for the assignment. The default setting is no.

Repository options

The instructor may choose from 2 options in the “Submit papers to:” pull-down menu. Instructors will be able to set the Submit papers to assignment option to store student papers in the standard paper repository, in the institution paper repository,

Repository Sources for Similarity Reports

The instructor is able to select the available repository sources to compare
submissions in the assignment against. This allows an instructor to disregard a source type if the comparison against this type of source is not needed.

The available search targets are listed under Search options. The targets with a check mark are those that will be searched. To remove a search target repository, click on the check box to remove the check mark. Clicking on an empty selection box next to the repository will re-add the repository as a search target. This selection will not alter any currently generated Originality Reports or Overall Similarity Index scores.

Currently available search targets are:

  • student paper repository – works previously submitted in classes and assignments on Turnitin
  • institution paper repository – a repository of student papers for the institution
  • current and archived internet – a repository of archived and live publicly available internet pages containing billions of pages of existing content and tens of thousands of new pages added daily
  • periodicals, journals, & publications – third party periodical, journal, and publication content including many major professional journals, periodicals, and business publications

Attach a rubric to the assignment

If you would like to use a rubric to grade the papers submitted to the assignment you may use the rubric list drop down menu to select a previously created or imported rubric or you can launch the rubric manager by clicking on the Launch Rubric Manager link and create a new rubric to attach to the assignment.

Enable e-rater® grammar check?

This feature is not enabled by default and may not be available for all accounts.
This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the option to enable the e-rater® grammar and spelling check for all submissions to the assignment. When enabled student submissions receive detailed grammar feedback in GradeMark automatically through the e-rater® technology. Select yes to enable the e-rater® engine for the assignment. If this assignment option is not available then the e-rater® grammar check is disabled for the account. Contact the Turnitin account administrator to enable the e-rater® grammar check for the account.

(Optional) Select the ETS handbook level from the drop down menu. The ETS
handbooks provide students with in depth information about the grammar errors the e-rater® technology finds in their paper.

Select the dictionary used for the spelling check.

The Categories enabled by default option allows instructors to choose which
categories of feedback are enabled when viewing assignment submissions in
GradeMark. The default is to show the feedback for every category.

Changing Advanced Assignment Option Defaults

If any changes have been made to the advanced assignment options, an additional option will be available at the bottom of the options panel. The instructor is asked Would you like to save these options as your defaults for future assignments? Select yes to have all future assignment creations use the advanced assignment options that have been selected as the default setting. Select no to continue with the previous default advanced assignment option settings.

The default settings can be changed at any time when creating a new assignment or updating an existing assignment.

Creating a Blog in Blackboard

To create a blog:

  1. Go to the Course Content Menu
  2. Click on “Blogs”
  3. Click on “Create Blog” button 
  4. Name the Blog and give directions to your students
  5. Enter other criteria, such as availability and Index Entries, monthly or weekly 
  6. Click Submit
Supplemental Video:

Creating a Discussion Board Forum in Blackboard

To create a discussion board:

  1. Go to the Course Content Menu
  2. Click on “Discussions”
  3. Hover your mouse pointer over the “Create Forum” button
  4. Name the Forum and give directions to your students
  5. Enter other criteria, such as availability and points
  6. Click Submit
Supplemental Video:

Creating a Graded Assignment

To create a graded assignment:

1. Go to the Content Area where you would like your assignment to appear (Course Materials, for example)
2. Hover over the Assessments button and choose Assignment
3. In the Create Assignment field there are several choices to make:
– give your assignment a name
– type instructions for students in the “instructions” text box
– you may choose to attach a file or create a course link in the Assignment Files area
– set due date, if appropriate
– grading – add points possible and, if you have created a Blackboard rubric, attach it
4. Advanced Settings include Submission Details, Grading Options and Display of Grade. You may click on the links to open these areas and make choices or you may stick with the defaults.
5. Click “Submit”

Adding Items in a Content Area in Blackboard

To add an item to a content area:

  1. Go to the Course Content Menu 
  2. Left click on a Content Area
  3. Click on the “Create Item ” button 
  4. Name the Item and give directions to your students
  5. Enter other criteria, such as adding an attachment and availability 
  6. Click Submit

Supplemental Video:

Creating a Folder in a Content Area in Blackboard

To create a folder:

  1. Go to the Course Content Menu
  2. Left cllick on a Content Area
  3. Hover your mouse pointer over the “Build” button
  4. Click on “Create Folder” 
  5. Name the Folder and give a description to your students
  6. Enter other criteria, such as availability
  7. Click Submit

Supplemental Video:


Archiving and Exporting a Course in Blackboard

We spend a lot of time developing materials and courses in Blackboard. ITS performs a daily backup for “gold” and current semester courses, but it is a good idea to backup a course for yourself after major updates to content or grades. You can use the Export or Archive tool to create a backup that can be restored by COLRS should the need arise.

What’s the difference between archiving and exporting a course?

When exporting a course package you select the items from the course that you want to include. Archiving includes all of the user material and data submitted in that course. Each process generates a .zip file that can be imported into Blackboard to restore content. Contact COLRS to have your content restored.

To Archive a Course:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Click on the chevron next to “Packages and Utilities” to expand menu
  3. Click on “Export/Archive Course”
  4. Click the “Arvhive” button
  5. Choose option to include gradebook, click Submit

To Export a Course:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above
  2. Click the “Export” button
  3. Choose items to include in Export package
  4. Wait a few moments, then refresh page
  5. Right click on Export File, Save As, Click OK

Supplemental Video:

When the .zip is saved to your computer, it is a good idea to save it in or Google Drive services from UIS.

Creating an Announcement in Blackboard

To Create an Announcement: 

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Click on the chevron next to “Course Tools” to expand menu
  3. Click on “Announcements”
  4. Click “Create Announcement” button 
  5. Type in subject and choose other options.  Choose “Override User Notification Settings” if you want your users to be emailed a copy of the announcement.
  6. Click Submit

Supplemental Video:

Determining WebApp Server

To find the WebApp Server within Blackboard:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Left click on Course Tools
  3. Click on “Which WebApp Server” 
  4. Record the number for reference

Supplemental Video:

Customizing Course Menu Style, Colors, Entry Point & Banners

To Change Course Style:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Left click on the chevron next to “Customization” to expand menu
  3. Click on “Style”
  4. Change options for menu style, course entry point, or add a Banner (no wider than 796 pixels, Blackboard recommends 480 by 80 pixels.)
  5. Click Submit

To Set Announcements as your Course Entry Point:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Click on Customization 
  3. Click Style
  4. Scroll down to option 4 
  5. Click on the drop down menu, select Announcements
  6. Click Submit

To Create a Tool Link for Announcements:

  1. Left click on the blue plus sign at the top of the course content menu
  2. Click on Create Tool Link
  3. Announcements should be selected
  4. Type in the title “Announcements”
  5. Select “Available to Users” 
  6. Click Submit

Supplemental Videos:


Blackboard: Hiding Courses Sites in “My Courses”

Most courses close a few weeks after the end of each semester. To hide any additional courses you do not wish to view in the “My Courses” module:

  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My UIS” tab (the first page you see when you log in), locate the “My Courses” module.
  3. In the upper right corner of the “My Courses” module, click on the gear icon (see Fig. 1). When you hover over the gear icon, help text appears that reads “Manage My Courses Module Settings.”ManageMyCourses
    Figure 1. The Gear icon allows you to hide courses in the “My Courses” module.
  4. On the “Personalize: My courses” page, look for “1. Edit Courses List” section. Uncheck the the boxes for any courses you no longer wish to view.
  5. Click ” Submit.”

Note: Unchecking a course only removes the course from your view. You will still continue to have access to all of the courses in which you are enrolled or teach on the Courses tab in Blackboard.

Copying Content from Another Instructor’s Course Site

If you are a new instructor and need to have materials copied from another instructor’s course site, you will need to have instructor permissions in both sites. Please contact your department chair and/or the previous instructor for permissions. Once you have instructor-level access to the course site, you may copy the materials into your empty Blackboard course site.

Instructor Help: I Can’t Find My Course Section on Blackboard

Instructors are assigned to Blackboard courses based on the UIS course schedule.  If you are not listed as the instructor of your course section in the course schedule, you will not have access to your Blackboard course site.

Please contact your program secretary or online coordinator to be listed as the instructor in the course schedule. Once listed as the instructor in the course schedule, you will have access to your course site within 24 hours.  

If access is needed more urgently, your program secretary or online coordinator can  contact COLRS to verify that you will be teaching the section.  He/she will need to provide us with the course name and number, course section, and your Net-ID.

Blackboard Course Sites for Tutorials, Projects, & Other Needs

Blackboard course sites are not automatically created for tutorials or graduate projects. If you would like a Blackboard course site for one-on-one work with a student, please contact COLRS.  If applicable, please provide the course name and course number.

Blackboard course sites can also be created for department uses, campus committees, and campus organizations.  UIS faculty or staff members can contact COLRS to make a request.


Joining Two or More Course Sections in One Blackboard Site

If you are teaching two or more sections of the same course, you may wish to combine them into a single Blackboard course site.

Combining Blackboard sections can lead to extremely large and difficult to manage discussion forums and/or confusion for students if you choose to combine an online course and a F2F course.

To request a combined course site, please complete this form.  You will need to know the course name, number, and the section numbers of the sections to combine.

Blackboard Automatic Announcement

The following Announcement is automatically generated within a course when it is created. You should delete this announcement if you plan to use your Blackboard course site.

This is an automatically generated course site. The faculty member assigned to teach this course may or may not choose to use the site. Also, content within this site may or may not be ready for student use at this time.

Please follow the instructions for the use of this site provided to you by the faculty member teaching this course. For online courses, you should receive communication from the faculty member in the form of a letter and/or email. You should receive this communication just prior to or shortly after the semester starts. For on campus and blended courses, please attend the first class session to obtain faculty instructions.

Should you have questions about the use of this site, please contact the faculty member assigned to this course. If no faculty member is assigned, please contact the department offering the course.

Wishing you much success in your studies at UIS.
Blackboard Administrators

Blackboard Gold Courses

A Gold Course is special type of Blackboard course site that is named “GOLD – Name of your course” and is identified with a “999” prefix.  A Gold Course is never deleted and is backed up daily.

How do I use a Gold Course?

  • Gold Courses can be used to develop and update your course content.  Editing your content in a Gold Course rather than a teaching course site preserves your student’s work in case of grade challenges.
  • Gold Courses are ‘clean’ versions of your courses.  Students are never enrolled and you will never teach within a Gold Course.
  • Gold Courses can be copied into the empty Blackboard course sites that are created for your course sections each semester.
  • Hint: Make your content unavailable (hidden from students) in your Gold Course. When you copy to your course shells (empty Blackboard site for the semester), you simply have to release it.

How do I get a Gold course?

Contact COLRS to request the creation of a Gold Course. We will need to know the name, department, course number of the course (CHE 301 or ART 441).  Also, if you would like an existing course copied into your Gold Course’s shell, please let us know the semester and section of the originating course.

One Gold Course may be requested for each course format you teach: 8-week, 16-week, online, blended, and on-ground.

Closing a Blackboard Course

Your Blackboard course sites will close automatically during the week prior to the start of the next semester.  If desired, you may  make your course unavailable at other times.

To make your course unavailable:

  1. Go to your Control Panel
  2. Click the chevron next to Customization
  3. Click on Properties
  4. Scroll to Option 3, Set Availablity
  5. Check “No”
  6. Press Submit