Blackboard News You Can Use – August 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

In July, MATC’s IT department updated its software that pushes semester courses to Blackboard through an automated process. As of the 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

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. See our Master Template 2020 Slideshow for a visual overview of what the template contains and how you may use it. As always, faculty may customize their semester shells to fit their teaching practice.

A screenshot image of the new course template.

Changes to the Courses Page

To find your fall sections 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.  Courses become available to students by their start date as listed in INFOnline.

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

Collaborate Ultra

Several new features will be coming to Collaborate Ultra this fall, including a chat profanity filter, secured recording links, and whiteboard improvements. Faculty who are interested in facilitating live office hours or live lectures through webinar format may use Blackboard Collaborate in their course shells. To prepare for using Collaborate Ultra, please see these resources:

New Tool Integrations Coming Soon!

Blackboard integrations with Techsmith Knowmia and Remind are coming soon! Information about these tools will become available by September.

Faculty Training and Support

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


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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