Blackboard Instructor Interaction

In order to ensure that we are meeting instructor to student weekly contact hours, all online and hybrid courses must implement instructor-led interaction methods. Discussions, journals and wikis are great ways to have students demonstrate their knowledge on a subject, but instructors must interact with students for it to be counted towards their weekly contact hour requirements. Course Messages are similar to email allowing instructors and students to communicate privately, but the messages are retained inside the Blackboard Course. Office Hours give instructors the opportunity to expand their normal face-to-face office hours to online students. Announcements are useful for reminding students about upcoming assignments or giving assignment feedback to the whole course. Many instructors use email for interaction with students. Email is difficult to measure. We recommend using personalized journals that students submit questions or concerns and instructors respond. You may also refer students to online office hours to answer their emails online.

Below is a video that covers different types of Instructor Interactions within one course. 

How to Interact with Students in your Courses

Instructions and video tutorials for each type of interactive tool: 

How to add Course Tool Links (Journals, Collaborate Ultra, Discussion Board, Course Calendar) to the Course Menu:

  1. Click on the Plus Sign in the top left-hand side of the Course Menu.
  2. Click on Tool Link.
  3. Name the Tool Link.
  4. Under Type, select the type of tool.
  5. Check the box for Available to Users.
  6. Hit Submit.

How to create a Tool Link Video Tutorial

How to create a Course Message

  1. Access the course that you need to send the message through.
  2. Click on Course Messages.
  3. Click Create Message.
  4. Click the “To” button.
  5. Select the Recipient from the “Select Recipients” box and click the move icon (>) and your recipient should now be listed under the “Recipients” box.
  6. Add the Subject and type the message in the Body.
  7. Hit Submit.

How to create a Course Message Video Tutorial

How to create an Announcement

  1. Click on Course Tools.
  2. Click on Announcements.
  3. Click on Create Announcement.
  4. Add a Subject and a Message.
  5. Check the box for “Send a copy of this announcement immediately”. If you add a Date Restriction to the announcement, then it won’t send the email until the Display After Date.
  6. Click Submit.

How to create an Announcement Video Tutorial

How to set Open (Display After) Dates on Learning Modules

  1. Hover over a Learning Unit and click on the chevron.
  2. Click on Edit.
  3. Check the box next to Display After.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Do this for all of your Learning Units.
  6. You can now use the Date Management Tool to set the dates in the Master or you can have instructors set the dates in the Live Shell.
  7. Click on Course Tools.
  8. Click on Date Management.
  9. The first time that you click Date Management, you will be taken to a screen with four options. You will need to select, List All Dates for Review.
  10. Hit Next.
  11. Once the dates load, click Next.
  12. From this screen, any item in the course that has a date on it will be listed here. You can also sort by Item Type to make setting your dates easier.

How to set Open (Display After) Dates on Learning Modules Video Tutorial

How to create Journals:

  1. Click on My Learning Journal.
  2. Click Create Journal.
  3. Name the Journal and fill out the Instructions section.
  4. Add Display After and Display Until Dates.
  5. Select the options for the Journal Settings.
  6. Check the box for “Grade” and enter a Points Possible.
  7. Add a Due Date.
  8. Hit Submit.

How to create a Journal Video Tutorial

How to create Wikis

  1. Create a Wikis Menu Item.
  2. Click on Create Wiki.
  3. Name the Wiki and add some instructions.
  4. Add Display After and Display Until Dates.
  5. Check the box for “Grade” and enter the Points Possible.
  6. Add a Due Date.
  7. Hit Submit.

How to create a Wiki Video Tutorial

How to Set up WebEx for Weekly Office Hours:

First you will need to setup WebEx in your course following these steps:

  1. Access your Blackboard course using either Firefox or Google Chrome.
  2. Click “Tool Link”.
  3. Enter WebEx in the Name field.
  4. Select WebEx in the drop-down menu.
  5. Check “Available to all users.”
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Click WebEx in the course menu.
  8. The Setup options should open.
  9. Choose Your Features (check the ones you want)-
    Classroom Collaboration- Do not use at this time. Messaging system where instructors and students can send messages
    to the whole class and share files (similar to Chat in the meetings)
    Virtual Meetings- This is the WebEx meetings that is similar to Blackboard Collaborate.
    The instructions for scheduling meetings and entering them will be
    later in these instructions.
    Office Hours- You can schedule office hours to meet online with students one-onone
    or in groups. The students can book a meeting with you based on the schedule
    you’ve set for your office hours.
  10. Click Apply out to the right-hand side of the feature options.
  11. Time Zone- Select the time zone where you are. For most instructors, that would be
    Eastern (New York) and hit Save.
  12. Authorize with LMS- Click Authorize to authorize with LMS to help WebEx synchronize with
  13. WebEx Meetings Attendance Grading- DO NOT USE THIS FEATURE. Since we are not an attendance-grading school, just leave this one alone. DO NOT click Turn On. If you turn it on, you will not be able to turn it off.
  14. Reminder Bot- The Reminder Bot posts a message into the WebEx Teams space before a WebEx meeting is about to start for the class. It does not create a reminder in Outlook. If you want to use it, click Turn On.
  15. Once you have completed the setup, you’ll see the features you checked as new tables across the top.
  16. If you want to add or remove any of the three features at a later date, click Setup and check or uncheck the feature and click Apply.

Now you are ready to setup your Office Hours following these steps:

  1. Select your Meeting Duration- Click on the amount of time you want allotted for each meeting.
  2. Select a Meeting Buffer (before and after each meeting)- Click the amount of time to block off as a buffer. It’s a good idea in case the meeting runs over or you have an action item to handle after a meeting.
  3. Set your Date Range- Set the date ranges for the office ranges to be open. You can enter the start and end dates of the terms or just a certain portion of the term.
  4. Set weekly hours:
    1. Click the checkbox beside each day you have availability.
    2. Set the hours you available that day each week.
    3. Click “Add availability”.
    4. Once all of the days are set, click Save.
  5. *Date Override-
    1. If there are certain days that need to be exceptions, click Date Override at the top.
    2. Select Date- Click the drop-down and select the date for the exception.
    3. Available on this day?
      • Leave the toggle off if you are unavailable the whole day.
      • Click the toggle to turn it on if you are only setting special hours for that day or if you are making yourself available on a day you normally don’t have office hours.
    4. Click “Add availability.”
    5. Click Save.

*Note: As the note above states, this will not affect any already scheduled meetings. So, they may need to be rescheduled. It also only affects that day. It does not affect that same day the other weeks. For example, if you override and remove availability for one Wednesday afternoon, it does not affect the rest of that day or any of the Wednesdays of the other weeks of the time range you’ve set.