With Purdue’s change from Blackboard Vista to Blackboard Learn underway, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of most noticable changes between the two systems, and point out some things the new system lets users do that the old system could not.
No Build, Teach, or Student Tabs
There are no Build, Teach, or Student tabs in Blackboard Learn. These have been replaced with an Edit Mode On/Off button. With Edit Mode turned on, users can build and edit content in the course. Turning Edit Mode off lets users see what the course will appear like to students. If users wants to delve further into what the experience is like for students, a student view tool is available. Accessing the student view tool will virtually log in an instructor as a demo student and allow them to view content, complete assignments and assessments, and access all course materials as a student – exactly like the student tab in Blackboard Vista.
Blackboard Learn provides users with a highly customizable course menu. Gone are the days of being tied to one type of content per menu item. Users can now customize their menu to best suit the needs of the course. Users can add a content area, tool link, or course link to their menu.
- I find it’s easiest to think of adding a content area to a menu as adding a folder. Within that folder, you can add files, assignments, assessments, YouTube videos, interactive tools, links to other items or places in your course, and all manner of other items. There is a lot of flexibility as to what you can add in a content area.
- A tool link is a direct link to a specific tool. So, if you wanted to add a menu item that would take students directly to all of your discussion boards for a course, for example, then a tool link would be the way to go.
- A course link is a link to an item that already exists in the course. Continuing the example from above, if you wanted a menu item to take students directly to discussion board #3 instead of a page with all of your discussions boards on it, then creating a course link would be the way to go.
Easier to add/modify files
Blackboard Learn offers users an improved content collection. Multiple files can be added at one time to a content collection through a simple drag and drop interface. Entire zipped folders worth of content can be easily unpackaged from within the Blackboard interface. By enabling versioning on a file and taking advantage of a webdav tool like Blackboard Drive or Web Folders , users can update files easier than ever before – without even opening Blackboard if desired.
You don’t have to wait until Fall to start exploring all of these new features. You can see for yourself now by requesting a master course. Master courses are courses an instructor can use for development. When a Banner generated section of a course is created, an instructor can easily link the contents of their master course to the Banner generated section.
ITaP is offering training throughout the rest of the semester and summer for anyone interested in learning how to use Blackboard Learn. Our next offerings are the week of April 9 with more offerings coming finals week and beyond.