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Communication Tools

Digital Drop Box
Discussion Board
Chat Room and Virtual Classroom
Email
File Exchange

Blackboard has a wealth of communication and collaboration tools that can be used within a Blackboard course site. Depending on whether the course site acts as a compliment to a traditional classroom setting or whether it's a hybrid or web-based course will determine what tools are most appropriate. Blackboard offers both asynchronous and synchronous tools and it's recommended that you familiarize yourself with the various methods of communication before requesting students use them.


Digital Drop Box

The Digital Drop Box no longer exists in Bb9.  If you're looking for a place for student's to submit items, consider the Assignment Tool (or SafeAssignment for documents that need to be filtered through a plagiarism filtering tool), located in any content area under the "Evaluate" button.

Evaluate Button Options image


Discussion Board

Particularly in a web-based course, the Discussion Board is an integral part of the class. It is a tool that fosters relationships, increases outside classroom discussion and encourages community. It can be used as a general open discussion tool or as an assignment tool by attaching parameters or gradable expectations around a forum. The Discussion Board is an asynchronous tool, meaning that discussion between all users does not take place in real time. Students can add to a discussion without others being present at the same time.

To create a new forum:

To add a new thread, (think of a thread as a new subject within a forum)

To reply to a thread or post click on the thread title.


Chat Room and Virtual Classroom

The Chat Room feature is a basic synchronistic chat tool that allows real time discussion between students in a particular course site to occur. The Virtual Classroom is an extended version of the Chat Room that also features a Course Map, Whiteboard, an Ask Question tool and the ability to have Breakout Sessions. You can record sessions in both the Chat Room and the Virtual Classroom for replay and review at a later time.

To set up a Collaboration session

Joining Chat image

To join a collaboration session click on the "Join" button to the right of the pertinent session. As the instructor you are responsible for recording the session if you want it saved. To record a session click on the circle button in the top right hand corner of the session window

Give your recording a name and click ‘OK'. Everything that goes on during the session will be recorded and available as a transcript once the session has ended. To stop a recording click on the circle button once.


Email

Course participants can easily send email from within a course site. Please note however that Blackboard is merely the vehicle, the email is sent to a recipient's sf.edu or cougars.sf.edu inbox and neither sent nor received mail is stored in Blackboard. If students are not receiving email or you are receiving a "cannot be delivered" message, remind students that they need to clean out their mailboxes. If a student's inbox is full, the email will simply be bounced back to the sender. The nice feature about using Blackboard to send email is that you can easily select just your enrolled students or individual students or groups you've set up within the particular class, rather than having to create a group in Outlook or your mail application.

While Bb will not store sent email for you, as the sender, you will receive a copy of the email to your sf.edu account for every email you send.  You may want to create a folder in Outlook so that you can organize and sort these email for later reference.


File Exchange

File Exchange is a feature available as a Group tool. If you set up groups in your Blackboard course site, students can easily exchange files within their group using the File Exchange under Group Page from within the Communication link. The File Exchange allows students to upload materials to their Group site and share these resources among assigned group members. A student clicks on the ‘Add File' icon, names their file and then browses on their computer for the file to add. The file is then posted on Blackboard and can be accessed by either the other students in that group or by the instructor.

 

Frequently Asked Faculty Questions

For log-in and password help
USS Help Desk
Pope John Paul II Center - Library
ph: 260-399-7700 x 6027
fx: 260-399-8175
helpdesk@sf.edu

Distance, Instruction, & Educational Technology
Pope John Paul II Center 211D
ph: 260-399-7700 x 6027
fx: 260-399-8175