Module
2

All Things Blackboard

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Getting Started

Blackboard Learn is a virtual learning environment and is the Learning Management System (LMS) the College uses.

This means that all your course content, assignments, resources, discussions, and so much more are going to be in one place on Blackboard Learn!

You may use more than one platform in your online learning experience, but they will all be linked back to Blackboard Learn.


To get into Blackboard Learn you must use your George Brown College credentials:

Username: Your student ID number

Password: Your GBC password

These are the same log in credentials you use to access Stu-View and your GBC email. If you have login issues, it might be easily solved with resetting your password at https://service.georgebrown.ca

We suggest you use the latest version of Chrome or Firefox to open Blackboard Learn. You can also test your device's compatibility on the GBC's Blackboard Learn login page.

By clicking on the link, Blackboard Learn will automatically check whether your browser supports the most recent release of Blackboard Learn.

Once you log in to your Blackboard Learn page you will find your Dashboard. On there you will see your navigation options, and customizable features. Here are key items on your dashboard to get you started:

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  1. My Courses: Here you will see a current list of the courses you are registered in. These will only appear as of the first official day of classes.
  2. Notifications: New activity on your Blackboard Learn account will appear next to your name in notifications.
  3. My Announcements: These are class and college announcements.
  4. Tools: These are links to all the Blackboard tools, including your calendar, tasks, and announcements.
  5. Texidium eText Portal: If you have eText as part of your course, the link will appear here.
  6. EasySoft Support Centre: This is the way to quickly access the Blackboard Learn Support Centre from anywhere inside the platform and get real time help.
  7. Community: Your Academic and Student Success groups may use this tab for student supports.

You can customize what your dashboard looks like by clicking and dragging tiles to different positions that better work for you. Check out the accessibility option and adjust text size and contrast to suit your needs.

Blackboard Lean has a FREE app that you can quickly download through the Google Play store for android and windows devices, and the Apple Store for iOS devices. The app is a great tool for many students who choose to access notifications and course information on the go.

For download and installation support you can watch a quick tutorial here.


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Stay Connected

Blackboard Learn allows you to set your preferences to make sure that you never miss any communication from your courses, instructors or even your classmates.


Course Materials & Content

Your instructors can add different types of content to your courses, such as files, text, assignments, images, multimedia, and links. They can organize content in folders, learning modules, and lesson plans.

You can access course content from the links on the course menu. Links that hold content are called content areas. For example, an instructor may add a content area that contains a week's worth of course material. So, week 1 could include content such as readings, assignments, a discussion, and a link to a website. You have to select each item individually to open it.

The course menu is the panel on the left side of the dashboard that contains links to all course areas. Instructors control the content and tools available on the course menu. Instructors can even customize the style of the course menu. They can change the colour, add sub-headers and dividers, and choose buttons or text for the links. These customizations create variations in the look and organization of your courses.
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What if you don't see some content?

Remember that instructors can limit which content items you see based on date, time, individual users, course groups, and your performance on graded items. Ask your instructor about content that you think may not appear for you but should.

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Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a conferencing and webinar platform used for online teaching at George Brown College.

Instructors can create a virtual classroom to share presentation material and communicate with you and your classmates through audio, video and chat tools. This means that Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is where you'll have your online lectures, live discussions and presentations.

Webinar rooms include a collaborative whiteboard tool that allows you to interact with your classmates and your instructor in real time. Desktop applications and web resources such as multimedia can be displayed directly within the web conference room.

An interactive recording can be created for each session allowing you the opportunity to review material following the live online webinar. Check with your instructor to see if they provide this option in your course.

How to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate Ultra requires certain permissions to function as desired. For example, you need to grant permission to access your camera and microphone so you can use audio and video. Give Collaborate Ultra permission when asked, and/or set up permissions in your browser preferences.

There are a few browsers that support Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, so make sure you are working within those browsers when you use this system:

Blackboard Collaborate Browser

A few things to do before your first Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session:

A few things to do make a strong impression during your Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session:

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Assignments & Tests

As you progress through your course, you'll complete different types of assignments: problems to solve, chapter questions to answer, research papers, presentations, creative writing, and so on.

In Blackboard Learn, you can easily upload your files and receive files back, along with your grade and feedback. Your instructor controls the date when assignments are ready for you to access and when they are due. Make sure you read your course outline throughly and make note of all important dates so you don't miss anything. Adding them to your calendar will help you stay on track.

Your instructors may also use tests to assess your mastery over course content and objectives. You can only access a test when it has been deployed by your instructor in a Content Area of the course. When the instructor lets you know that test is available, and where to find it, enter that area of the course and click on the test link to start it.

Quick tips for taking a test on Blackboard Learn

Start your test as soon as you can.

  • If your instructor makes a test available for three days, plan to take the test early on the first day. This way, if you have an issue, you will have time to contact technical support and your instructor.

Read all of the instructions.

  • If you have any trouble with your test or understanding test questions or requirements, contact your instructor immediately.

Check your internet connection.

  • A wired connection is usually more reliable than a wireless connection.
  • Check with your instructor and institution before you take a test with a cellular data connection.

Don't refresh the page, close the window, or use the browser's back button while you take a test.

  • If you have problems during a test, contact your instructor immediately.

You may see your score immediately after you complete the test if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. Your instructor may choose a date in the future to release test scores while your classmates take the test. To access feedback and grade information, select the test in the content area or My Grades and follow the instructions below.

Tools


SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool that allows your instructor to check the originality of a homework submission. SafeAssign automatically conducts the check by comparing your assignment against a database of other assignment submissions. So make sure to cite your sources in everything you submit!

Respondus is an integrated tool in Blackboard Learn and is used for proctoring tests and exams. This tool must be installed on the device you will be using before you take an exam.

Your device must have a web camera in order to use this tool.

The Lockdown Browser for Blackboard Learn will prevent you from accessing any other materials, including internet browsers or other software, while the test/exam is open. This means that you can’t refer to external information or copy material from external sources while working on the test.

How LockDown Browser Works:

  • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Browser menu and toolbar options are removed, except for Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop
  • Prevents access to other applications including messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machines, and remote desktops
  • Printing and screen capture functions are disabled
  • Copying and pasting anything to or from an assessment is prevented
  • Right-click menu options, function keys, keyboard shortcuts and task switching are disabled
  • An assessment cannot be exited until the student submits it for grading
  • Assessments that are set up for use with LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with other browsers

The Monitor tool builds on the Lockdown Browser and uses your webcam to record your activity during the testing session. The recording can verify you are taking the exam alone and that you're not using physical materials such as written notes.

To use Respondus you only have to download it once. Then:

  • Access tests/exams within Blackboard Learn as you normally would.
  • After it auto-launches from the browser you are using to take the test/exam, follow the guided pre-exam sequence, including the webcam check to make sure you are ready to go.

Respondus can be downloaded from the college's AppsAnywhere platform using your student ID and password.


Grade Centre

When you go to your grades, you are able to see grades for all of your courses or one course at a time.

To view grades:

  1. Select the arrow next to your name in the upper-right corner.
  2. In the menu, select My Grades. You can sort your grades by All Courses or Last Graded.
  3. If your work hasn't been graded, a grade status icons appears.
  4. Select a graded item's title to review your submission.
  5. For tests, after you select the title, the View Attempts page opens.
  6. Select the grade to review your submission.

Select the View Feedback icon to view instructor feedback in a pop-up box. Official course grades are later posted and available through Stu-View.

Accessibility

Blackboard Learn is a fully accessible learning management system and includes many tools for you to make the most of your experience. You can test your device's compatibility on the GBC's Blackboard Learn login page.

Some of the customization includes adjusting text size and contrast, screen reader compatibility, and printing to braille to name a few.

We've included some links below to help you navigate the tools you may need to help you with your online studies and your individual needs.


Blackboard Ally is an accessibility tool within Blackboard Learn that creates alternative files that are easier to use by all students.

Ally works within your online course so it's available right where you need it.

Alternative files include readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy-to-navigate content. Ally creates multiple alternatives from the original documents in your course. You can download these alternative formats anywhere that files are used.

Visit the Ally help page in Blackboard Learn to learn more.

Collaborate Ultra has many accessibility features. Check them out online and find out more on the tools you need.

Some noteworthy highlights:

Global keyboard shortcuts have been established for common actions within Blackboard Collaborate.

Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • To turn the microphone on and off, press Alt + M in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + M.
  • To turn the camera on and off, press Alt + C in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + C.
  • To raise and lower your hand, press Alt + H in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + H.

For the best Blackboard Collaborate Ultra experience with your screen reader use Firefox and JAWS on a Windows system. On a Mac use Safari and VoiceOver.

  • Windows 10
    • Firefox with JAWS v17: Provisional
  • Windows 7
    • Firefox with JAWS v17: Compatible
  • macOS
    • Safari with VoiceOver: Certified
    • Firefox with VoiceOver: Provisional

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Troubleshooting

Blackboard Learn EasySoft support can be accessed at anytime 24/7 right from your dashboard!

Hover over the blue circle with the question mark on the upper right of your screen to access the Support Centre and choose from a selection of support topics or type in what you have a question about.

Support topics will automatically generate depending on where you are in Blackboard Learn to help you get the answer you need.

If you can't find the answer you need, email directly from the EasySoft Support Centre and it will include what you were working on to help resolve your issue.

You can also call to speak to Technical Support at 416-415-5000 ext. 4357 (help)

For GBC password reset, use the self-serve password utility at https://service.georgebrown.ca, or call the Technical Support number above.

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Feedback & Understanding

Think about what you have learned in this module and complete the self-assessment below.


After finishing Module 2 I feel I can...


Module 3

Academic Success Strategies

Next You're Supported

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