Blackboard News You Can Use – July 2020

Blackboard Blackboard News You Can Use

Welcome back to Blackboard News You Can Use, your brief monthly newsletter to help you promote student success through MATC’s web-based learning environment, Blackboard Learn. In this edition, we share news about Blackboard updates and resources to support your teaching practice.

Blackboard Updates

MATC’s IT department has updated the Ellucian software that pushes semester courses to Blackboard through an automated process. As of Fall 2020 Semester (FA2021), faculty will see the following changes in how semester courses are created in Blackboard.

Fall Course Sections Have Released with a New Course Template

Faculty will begin to see Fall 2020 (FA2021) course sections released to Blackboard as of July 1st. To find them when you are logged into Blackboard’s Courses page, either set the term at the top of the page to “Fall-2020” or navigate to the “Upcoming Courses” section; see the Guide to Searching the Courses Page for details. To help faculty satisfy the minimum requirements for using Blackboard in all course sections as defined in the Faculty Appendix (p.143) and to support our students, all FA2021 semester course shells will be issued with a new basic course design template. Designed through the collaboration of faculty and staff from the Center for Teaching Excellence and Department of Online Learning, this template contains scaffolded instructions and links to support efficient course development. As always, faculty may customize their semester shells to fit their teaching practice.

A screenshot image of the new course template.

Cross-listed Sections

Sections that are cross-listed in INFOnline will be issued a single course shell in Blackboard. You may identify a cross-listed section in Blackboard by examining its course ID and name. A cross-listed shell will have an “XL” appended to the end of its course ID and its name will list all of the sections in the cross-listed group (see image below). Students enrolled in the cross-listed sections will be added to the single semester shell in Blackboard. This process only applies to sections that are cross-listed by Course Scheduling. Sections stacked by Course Scheduling receive course shells for each assigned section.

A screenshot image of a cross-listed course in Blackboard

ILP Tool Improvements

The ILP Tool that faculty use to send midterm or final grades from Blackboard will be updated so that it will work in original and Ultra Course formats. Starting with the Fall 2020 sections (FA2021), faculty will be able to access the tool through their semester course’s Control Panel as a link that clearly says “Submit Grades”.  The process to submit midterm/final grades from Blackboard has not changed. However, if a course section is cross-listed as described above, grades will be pushed from the single course shell in Blackboard to the correct section in INFOnline automatically.

NBC Learn Has Been Discontinued

The NBC Learn mashup is no longer available for use. NBC has permanently discontinued this product. Please refer to the Video Accessibility Resources Guide for alternative tools.

Summer Faculty Training and Support

The faculty liaisons are your first point of contact for Blackboard how-to questions and assistance. See the Summer Faculty Liaison Schedule for their availability to meet online for consultations.  We welcome Noel Caballero from the Health Services pathway and Tamara Grobschmidt from the General Education pathway to the faculty support liaison team!

Summer Blackboard Training Courses

Faculty may enroll in professional development’s free 1 credit online courses this summer to learn how to use Blackboard tools for teaching and learning online. See the Summer Training Course Schedule for upcoming sections. The online learning department is currently reviewing the results of the 21st-century survey; the training that will be offered this summer will reflect the faculty responses.


Faculty are invited to attend a series of free Remote Instruction Webinars provided by the Blackboard Company this July through August. Register through the provided link above to learn how to design assessments, manage the grade center, improve student engagement, and more.

Recordings from past webinars hosted by MATC’s Department of Online Learning and Blackboard are available on YouTube to view at your convenience.

Resources to Move to Instruction Online

Faculty Support 

Student Support


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