Organizing your Course List

Question came up about organizing the course list by sorting out courses and removing older/not needed courses.

Which prompted me to write some help desk documentation!

You can find that here: 

If you are both teaching and taking courses, the sections you teach will appear above the sections you are taking.

Otherwise, this information is useful to both instructors and students! Feel free to share!


Managing Your Course List

Now that we’ve been on Blackboard hosted at Open SUNY for almost a year (!), it’s time to review how to manage your Course List.

On the My Courses page in Blackboard, look for the top line and point your cursor at the far right end until a letter “S” appears (highlighted in yellow). Click on it.


In that page, click the ticky box in front of “group by term”


You can Submit and quit there, but the cool thing is setting up an order, and turning off old terms from the list.


Point your cursor to the front of the row (where the yellow highlight is) and you can click and drag the semesters in the order you want. That way, Spring 2107 (17SP) can be at the top.

You can “Select all/Unselect all” to turn older semesters off. In this example, Summer 2016 is no longer viewable in my list. If I want it back, I can turn it back on right here.

When you’re finished, click the Submit button and you’re all set!

Once you have set up the Group By Term, it stays on wherever you log in.

If you need help, let us know and we’ll be glad to help you out!

Collaborate Ultra Documentation

Been a while since I’ve been here, hasn’t it?  🙂

Blackboard Learn has taken away the old “office hours” thing and given you a much spiffier Collaborate Webinar experience. It’s much easier to use, for both you and your students. If nothing else, it’s a simple way to hold online office hours.

If you’re going to seriously use the software as part of instruction, there are more tools available if you use the version of Collaborate that is available outside of Blackboard. Contact me if you want to learn more.

Collaborate works best-est in Chrome, reasonably well in Firefox and not at all in Internet Explorer.

In the meantime, this is a good place to aggregate some documentation that may answer questions for folk:

Information on File and Recordings 

Sharing Content with Participants

Clearing Cache — always a good idea

Chrome Crashes as you move users to Breakout Rooms

Avoiding the “Infinite Tunnel” effect when sharing content

Let me know if you want a demo or if you have questions!


Blackboard Help – August 12 – 29

OMG! Classes start in 13 days! When the heck did that happen???

If you’re going to need any assistance with Blackboard over the next three weeks, there are options (and limitations) you should be aware of.

Harold is at campus centers this week. Contact the campus center directly about his hours and availability.

  • Tuesday, August 12 – Warsaw
  • Wednesday, August 13 – Arcade
  • Thursday, August 14 – Albion
  • Friday, August 15 – Lima

I will be in Batavia on Tuesday and Wednesday this week but I will out of town on Thursday and Friday (Aug 14-15) with limited access to email. Bob Reynolds will be in the office those days for drop in assistance in Batavia.

During PAD week – August 18 – 22 – there will be Blackboard drop in sessions every afternoon in T205 from 1 pm to 4 pm (and we’ll stay later on Wednesday to accommodate folk coming in for the Adjunct meetings that evening). The PAD week time will be first come/first served, so don’t wait until Thursday…

Harold and I will be available by email over the next couple of weeks, don’t hesitate to reach out to us…. But we’ll be slower to get back to you the end of this week. [Okay, hints don’t work: DO NOT WAIT TO GET HELP!!!! No one may be available if you wait too long! (Okay, can I make the snarky remark that that’s the exact same thing you tell your students about doing the work you assign them?  ::grin::  )]

And… wait for it… as an extra special bonus, only if you order in the next ten minutes… oh, wait, nevermind…

But Harold will also be available in T104 (BEST Center computer lab) August 25-29 from 9 to 11:30 and 1:30 to 4 pm every day for drop in assistance. (Let the poor man get some lunch, for heaven’s sake!) This is also first come/first served.

Hope you had a good summer! Mine disappeared somewhere…

New Features in Blackboard!

As you may have heard we will be installing several Blackboard updates on May 19-21. These updates will correct several issues and enhance some of the current tools. There is also some new functionality that will be added.

Because you won’t have access to the new features until after May 21, I have decided to offer a New Feature Showcase session next week.  This 3 hour session (this is not a hands-on workshop) will introduce you to some of the new features and changes that will happen as a result of the May 19-21 update. You can check out of all the new features at the Feature Showcase by following this link

Here are some of the enhancements:

  • The new Blackboard Global Navigation where all course information (messages, assignments, posts, etc.) from all courses is in one place. This has long been a request from faculty everywhere.
  • The totally new Retention Center used to monitor student performance (think the old Track Students tool on steroids).
  • The inline grading function that allows grading of assignments without leaving the course
  • The improved Discussion tool.
  • A dynamite Calendar tool. 
  • The new Video everywhere feature that allows you to easily add video to discussions, announcements and other places throughout your course.

Here is the schedule for the New Feature Showcase: (All sessions are in T-205)

  • 9-12 Wednesday Morning May 15
  • 1-4 Thursday Afternoon May 16
  • 9-12 Friday Morning May 17

No reservation required. Just stop by and see all the cool new stuff.

We hope to see you at one of the sessions next week.

Training and Help – Week of May 13

The following is a revised Blackboard assistance schedule for the week of May 13. All sessions will be in T-205.

Monday May 13 1 PM – 3 PM Blackboard Drop-in Help
Tuesday May 14 9 AM – 11 AM Blackboard Drop-in Help
Wednesday May 15 9 AM – 11 AM New blackboard Enhancements
Wednesday May 15 1 PM – 3 PM Blackboard Drop-in Help
Thursday May 16 9 AM – 11 AM Blackboard Drop-in Help
Thursday May 16 1 PM – 3 PM New blackboard Enhancements
Friday May 17 9 AM – 11 AM New blackboard Enhancements
Friday May 17 1 PM – 3 PM Blackboard Drop in Help

The Blackboard Drop-in sessions are opportunities to get questions answered as well as assistance with end of the semester needs.

The New Blackboard Enhancements session will provide an overview of the changes to Blackboard as a result of the update taking place on May 19-May 21. These sessions are informational rather than hands-on and will take the entire 3 hours.

Beginning of Semester Blackboard Checklist

Update your Syllabus.

Textbook information is accurate.

Due dates are updated.

Point system and assignments are updated.

Contact information and Office Hours is updated.


Update due dates in the Assignment tool.

Update points possible in the Assignment tool.

If needed, tweak the instructions for each assignment.

Assessments (located in Tests, Quizzes & Surveys tool)

Update due dates in the assessment tool.

Update/add/delete questions, as needed.

Update points possible in the assignment tool and individual questions if needed.

Grade Center

Update calculations and formulas if assignments, assessments or others are added or removed.

Hide letter grade column and other columns from students, if needed.


Create a new welcome message to students and invite them to respond and introduce themselves.

Course Content

Check video clips, PDF files and web links…make sure they all work.

Check to see if the course is available to the students!


A useful tip:

If you do have a test student already enrolled in this class, logged in as that test student and check what your class looks like as your students would see it.

Don’t have a test student?  Please ask how!  (very easy to do…)



Credit for this information found in this document goes to: Christine Paige, Educational Technologist