Blackboard News You Can Use – March 2021

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 online learning environment, Blackboard Learn. In this edition, we share news about new features and resources to support your teaching practice.

Faculty Training and Support 

The faculty liaisons are your first point of contact for Blackboard how-to questions and assistance. See the Faculty Liaison Schedule for their availability to meet online for consultations.  

Upcoming Blackboard Training Webinars

In addition to our training courses, faculty are invited to attend a series of free Remote Instruction Webinars that will be provided by the Blackboard Company throughout the spring term. Additional special topic webinars will be provided by the Online Learning department – see the schedule and webinar links below to join. Additional webinars will be coming soon!

Session Topic Date & Time Leader Webinar Link
Have a question? Open Q&A!  Wed. March 3rd,12 PM E. Dischler, D. Olson Click to Join
SmarterProctoring Faculty Training Fri. March 5th, 1 PM S. Doty Click to Join

8 Week Course Conversion Workshop

Faculty interested in learning best practices in adding an 8-week option to teach your existing 16-week courses are invited to join the 8-Week Course Conversion Workshop. You will earn FQAS hours for participating in the workshop and completing the 8-week course option process. Join the workshop here on March 3rd at 5 PM, March 8th at 9 AM, and March 19th at 11 AM (All times CST). If you have questions about this opportunity, contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at

Open Educational Resources Week 2021

The Community College Consortium for OER (CCCOER) is offering a series of activities for Open Education Week from March 1st through March 5th, 2021.  Visit the OER Week 2021 webpage to attend live sessions, view recorded webinars, and participate in online discussions. You will learn about OER basics, pedagogy, leadership, and how students benefit from OER adoption.

Upcoming Blackboard Training Courses

Enroll in professional development’s free 1 credit online courses to learn how to use Blackboard tools. See our Spring Training Course Schedule for additional offerings and instructions for registration.

Course Date/Time
Advanced Blackboard
Tuesdays March 2nd -16th, 5 PM – 8 PM; An additional 7 hours of coursework is required
Introduction to Blackboard
Saturday, March 13th & 20th, 9 AM to 1 PM; an additional 8 hours of coursework is required

Submitting Progress Grades through Blackboard

Midterm progress grades are due on Friday, March 5th by 5 PM CST. To submit midterm progress grades, faculty use the Blackboard ILP Integration course tool within their semester sections. All faculty may use this tool, even if they haven’t used Blackboard to facilitate instruction. To learn more about using this tool, see our instructions, demonstration video, and FAQ.

Educational Technology Resources

The following tools are available to support remote teaching and learning in Blackboard. If you have questions about using these technologies, please contact


SmarterProctoring is MATC’s new online test proctoring tool for securing Blackboard exams. Faculty can customize an automated proctoring session with options for recording the student, locking down the browser, and verifying student identity through photo-ID. To learn more about using SmarterProctoring to protect high-stakes Blackboard exams, see these resources:

Supporting Regular Substantive Communication

In an online course, regular communication occurs at frequent intervals throughout the semester. Substantive communication is instructor-initiated contact with students that creates opportunities for relevant discussion of academic topics or scaffold support. Review our Guide to Regular and Substantive Communication to learn how to use educational technology tools to engage and support students in learning.

Using Assessments and the Grade Center in Blackboard

Faculty are strongly encouraged to use the assessment tools and grade center in Blackboard to collect student homework digitally and coordinate the delivery of feedback to students. See these resources to learn more about using these tools.

Resources to Support Your Move to Online Instruction

Faculty Support 

Student Support


Published by the Department of Online Learning

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