Blackboard has features for adding and organizing folders, files, links, and tools. Your instructor may ask you to upload some course materials to Blackboard, including a course syllabus, readings, and links. You may also need to set release dates or make items unavailable. There are several ways to perform these tasks, but we will go over the common ways to go about it below.
Before anything else, you need to know that the starting point for most content begins with Blackboard's Content Area tool. In Module 1, we added a Content Area to the Course Menu and called it "Home Page." The image below is a Content Area tool which has options for Building Content, Assessments, Tools, and Partner Content.
Folders are usually added to a course homepage, and are a good way to organize course materials. Instructors will sometimes want materials organized into weekly folders (i.e., Week 1, Week 2, etc..) or content-specific folders (i.e., Homework, Readings, Powerpoint Files, etc..)
To add a Folder to your Home Page:
- Make sure Edit Mode is ON and that you are on a Content Area page (like the Home Page).
- Click Build Content and choose Content Folder.
- Add a Name (i.e., "Start Here") and Description (i.e., This folder contains the course syllabus, textbook, and required software information)
- Select Yes for Permit Users to View This Content
- You can also set Date and Time Restrictions on this folder, and all items you might add to it, by specifying the Display After and Display Until dates.
- Click Submit
Add Items, Files, Blank Pages, and Web Links
Once you have a folder, or several, you will want to add actual course materials. You can add a lot of things, including files, links, content pages, and links to assignments, quizzes, and discussions.
- To upload a file, like a course syllabus, you can use the File option or the Item option under Build Content. The steps are very similar to the ones above that describe how to add a Folder.
- To create a link to an external web page, choose the Web Link under Build Content. If linking to an external site, be sure to Open in a new window.
- To create an HTML page where you can freely enter and format text, images, etc.. choose the Blank Page option under Build Content. You will see the Content Editor and be able to format your materials the same way you would in Microsoft Word.
Set Release Dates for Items in Blackboard
After you add Folders, Items, etc... in Blackboard, you can always go back end edit those items. You can change the name, add a description, modify the available dates, and so on. As a TA, one of your duties might be to set the release dates and due dates for items to coincide with the semester dates. All items in Blackboard have a small gray arrow to the right of the text (see below). This is called the Item Options Menu. If you click on that, you'll see a lot of options. You can Move, Copy, Delete, and Make Unavailable. If the item is unavailable to students, because you hid it or because of release dates, then TAs and Instructors will see a message notifying you that the item is currently unavailable to students (see below).