Managing content in Blackboard

Here you can find a range of information on how to manage content in Blackboard.


Using folders to manage your Learning Materials

When you’re adding content to the Learning Materials area of your module we recommend that you use folders to help organise the content into a logical structure. The Learning Materials area is connected to the Module Overview in the module. Each folder you create within the Learning Materials area will be listed in the Module Overview. This helps students get an at a glance view of what will be covered in the module.

Please note: only folders are reflected in the module overview, not individual files or other items.

Step 1
In the Learning Materials area, click the Build Content button from the action bar. Select Content Folder from the menu.

Step 2
Give your folder a title and, optionally, a description and then click Submit to save the folder. The title will be what shows up in the Module Overview area so a logical and ordered naming system is best. This may be the weeks of a module, the themes or topics taught or a similar system related to your content.

Step 3
Once you have saved your folder you will be returned to your Learning Materials area. If you already have folders or files in this area then the new folder will be added to the bottom of the list. To move the folder, hover over the left edge until your cursor appears as a 4-headed arrow. You can then click on the folder and drag it to the necessary place in the order.

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Add a file directly to a content area

This option is recommended when you are uploading any file that will only be referred to once in Blackboard. For resources that will be used across multiple modules or by many lecturers, or to upload zip files please use the Content Collection. If you want to add media files such as embedded images, audio, or video then please read the Media pages. See also the section on this page entitled Building richer content items

Step 1
Navigate to the folder that will contain the file. From the action at the top of the page select Build Content and click Item (or File).

Step 2
Add a title and, optionally, a description to give context or explain to students any action they need to take with the file (e.g. read it, complete questions, etc).

Step 3
You can drag files to this box or Click the Browse Computer button and select your file.
Browse Computer
When tutors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the “hot spot” in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments using Blackboard’s own assignment submission tool.

Step 4
Set any special options if needed and then click Submit to save your file.

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Uploading course handbooks

Uploading course handbooks – a guide for course leaders.

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Overwriting files

You can easily update an existing file to replace it with the most up to date version by using the Overwrite option. Locate the item in your module, select the grey action button next to the file to reveal the menu. Click overwrite.

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Blackboard Content Collection

This option can be used for individual files or for when you want to:

  • Upload a zipped folder containing many files
  • Use the same resource across multiple modules
  • Share resources with colleagues

Blackboard’s Content Collection is a file repository that allows staff to store, manage, and share content. The Content Collection functions as a virtual hard drive that can be accessed from any computer by logging into your Blackboard account. Files stored in the Content Collection can be easily reused and linked to from any Blackboard module/organisation offering a single source file solution. Updating a file that is linked to in the Content Collection saves time and avoids duplication of effort, eliminating the need to go into each module/organisation to upload an updated version of a file.

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Building richer content items

If you would like to build a richer type of content item, one that contains a variety of things all surrounded by clear instructional text then you will need to select Item from the Build Content menu.

When creating an item the Text box gives you access to 3 menu bars.

Blackboard’s editing menus

If you are unable to locate all 3 menu bars select this button from the top right hand corner.

Whilst working on developing your content use this button to expand the screen and give yourself a larger working area.

Dropbox Intergration

Tutors and students can link to their Dropbox content directly from UniLearn using the mashup menu found in most content creation workflows: content creation, tests, discussion boards, blogs, journals, wikis, announcements, feedback, and grading notes.

Click for more information.

A worked example

Take a look at the following example item.

The remainder of this section will walk you through how you can create the above item using the editing toolbars. The following buttons were used to achieve what has been set out in the example above. Further on you will find two videos which explain the detail of how the item was created.

to insert the picture.

to link to the PDF document.

to insert the web link.

Mashups and then YouTube Video were selected to insert the YouTube video.

Take a look at the first video. It will show you how to add a link to a file in such a way that the linking text is embedded naturally within a sentence. This is a good practice approach, helpful to all learners including those with screen readers.

Please note: In this video the file to be linked to has already been uploaded to the Content Collection for the module. The file could just as well be one that is selected from the computer. If you need help with uploading files beforehand please refer to Uploading files using the Content Collection

Next, take a look at this video. It shows you how to edit the item created previously to:

  • create a weblink;
  • add and image; and
  • add a youtube clip, all using good practice guidelines.

Adaptive Release

Adaptive release controls the release of content to users based on a set of rules you create. The rules may be related to availability, date and time, individual users, group membership, scores or attempts on any Grade Centre item, calculated columns in Grade Centre, or review status of an item in your course.

*This page is intended as a quick reference guide and is a summary of the full Blackboard help pages. Full information and details can be found on the Blackboard help pages – Controlling the Release of Content

You can access the adaptive release rules by clicking on the small grey circle and down arrow alongside any resource name.

There are two options on that menu for most resources:

  • Adaptive Release – Create a single rule which consists of a set of criteria that defines the visibility of a content item to users. If a rule has multiple criteria, the user must meet all criteria before the item is available.
  • Adaptive Release Advanced – Create sophisticated combinations of rules for a single content item. For example combine a set of criteria for Group A with a different set of criteria for Group B

Note: This quick guide will look at the basic Adaptive Release. For more information on the advanced form, please refer to the Blackboard Help pages.

Once you have established any adaptive release rules for an item, visibility of that item is restricted to those users who meet the criteria of those rules. For example, suppose you create an item called “Introduction” in a content area. At this point, all users would be able to see that content item. Next, you create a rule restricting the item to Group A users. Now, only members of Group A can see Introduction — all other users do not see it.
Note: Item availability set on the Add Item page supersedes all adaptive release rules. If the item is unavailable, it is unavailable to all users regardless of any rules established.

Adaptive Release Criteria

Criteria are the parts that define an adaptive release rule. You can apply one or more criteria to each rule.

  • Date – display content based on date or time. Content can also be released by date/time through the item’s own setting page, but the adaptive release enables that to be combined with other criteria e.g. to give a specific user or group additional time to access material such as for EC1 or referral work.

  • Membership – display content to a specific user or to members of one or more groups

  • Grade – display content based on an activity grade or calculated column in the Grade Centre. There are also options to set criteria based on an attempt, rather than achieving a particular score, or for scores between X and Y.

  • Review Status – display content when another item has been marked as 'reviewed’

Please note: If adaptive release rules are set, you will only see that item if those rules apply to you, or if you have edit mode turned on. For example, if you have an item set to be released to Group A and you are not part of Group A, then even as a tutor, you will not see that resource unless you turn editing on.

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Tracking progress with adaptive release

If you have adaptive release rules set then you can check which students have met the criteria (or whether a specific item is visible to them) by using the User Progress option.

Step 1
Navigate to the content item that has an adaptive release rule applied and click the grey circle to reveal the dropdown menu. Click User Progress.

Step 2
You will then see a table with details of all users on the module and whether they can view this item or not. If the item is visible to the user an open eye appears in the column. If the item is not visible to the user the eye appears closed.
If Review Status has been enabled on the item (either through the Review Status option or through an Adaptive Release Rule) then a column for this will also appear. The Review Status also appears on the page, along with the date the item was reviewed.

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