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Teaching with Blackboard

About Blackboard

Blackboard™ is a course management system used campus-wide at NIU. The system allows faculty to post materials, deliver tests and surveys, hold online discussion and many other course-related functions. All currently-enrolled students and teaching faculty have access to the Blackboard system. We are running Blackboard version 9.1 Service Pack 14, having upgraded the system May 25, 2014. Login to the NIU Blackboard site at: http://webcourses.niu.edu

Collaboration Tools to be Discontinued in Blackboard
End of Summer Session 2015

Posted: 6/19/15

Due to an impending lack of browser support, the legacy Blackboard Collaboration Tools "Lecture Hall" and "Office Hours", typically accessed by navigating to course Tools > Collaboration, are scheduled to be discontinued at the end of the 2015 Summer session.

Instructors who wish to continue holding online meetings or office hours should consider using Blackboard Collaborate --a more robust, fully-featured online meeting platform that has already been adopted by hundreds of users at NIU.

With Blackboard Collaborate, instructors can schedule online meetings ahead of time, or they may use persistent "rooms" which are ideal for drop-in situations, such as office hours.

To access Blackboard Collaborate in your course simply navigate to Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.

To learn more about using Blackboard Collaborate in your Blackboard course, visit the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center's website, or register for one of their upcoming workshops.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk at 815-753-8100 or helpdesk@niu.edu.

Blackboard Learn Upgrade: Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Posted: 5/8/15

A significant upgrade is scheduled to be performed to the Blackboard Learn System over Memorial Day weekend. The upgrade will begin at 5:00 AM on Saturday, May 23, 2015, and will complete by 5:00 AM on Sunday, May 24, 2015. The Blackboard Learn system (https://webcourses.niu.edu) will be unavailable during this time.

The latest version of Blackboard Learn, April 2014 Release, will introduce several new and exciting features, including:

  • Portfolios
    A rebuilt Portfolio system aimed at assessing student learning.
  • Anonymous and Delegated Grading
    Grade Assignment submissions anonymously and share grading responsibilities with one or more graders.
  • Student Preview
    The new Student Preview feature provides faculty with the ability to easily see the course exactly how a student would see it.
  • Assignment and SafeAssignment Integration
    SafeAssign is now integrated with the Assignment tool, making it easy to check student submissions for plagiarism by clicking a checkbox when creating an Assignment.
  • New Look and Feel
    New flat color schemes and navigation banner.

To learn more about the upcoming features, please visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade.

The Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center will be holding workshops and hands-on sessions to preview the new features. To sign up for a workshop please visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade/workshops.shtml

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk at 815-753-8100 or helpdesk@niu.edu.

More Blackboard news »

Device Support Video Found When Searching for a Video with the YouTube Mashup Tool 

Posted: 5/11/15

The YouTube Mashup tool is designed to embed YouTube videos directly in a Blackboard course, for an ideal viewing experience for students. Unfortunately, on May 1, 2015, Google changed the way that YouTube videos can be searched, which has caused an issue for searching for a video using the YouTube Mashup tool in a content area and in the text editor. Searching for a YouTube video returns a single video titled Device Support that includes the message "YouTube is upgrading to a newer version which is not supported by this device or app."

There are two ways to include YouTube content in a Blackboard course until this issue is resolved. The easiest method is to provide a link to the video instead of embedding it. It is also possible to manually embed a YouTube video using the html editor in the text editor. These are temporary workarounds to replace creating new embedded videos using the YouTube Mashup. Any YouTube videos already embedded in Blackboard courses will continue to work properly.

Blackboard is aware of the issue and working to resolve it. Click here to find out more about the temporary workaround. 

Blackboard Video Everywhere: Message regarding Google API Changes

Posted: 5/06/15

The Video Everywhere web-cam feature allows users to quickly record a video in the text box editors by connecting to YouTube accounts. Google/YouTube has recently changed the way that third-party apps (like Blackboard) interact with Google apps. Users attempting to record or post videos with Video Everywhere will receive an error that the Google Apps API has been deprecated.  

Blackboard is aware of the issue and working to resolve it. Click here to find out more about the temporary workaround. 

More Known Issues »