Managing Content in Blackboard

I don’t know if you have ever noticed the Content Collection tab in Blackboard and wondered what it was all about.  Well, I am going to try and explain some of it here in this blog post.  This piece of Bb may help in managing content across courses and between users.

You will have access to content management (a.k.a.:  Content Collection), you can store, share, and publish content in personal, course, and institution folders in the Content Collection, and link to these files in different areas of your course. You can store files you upload to your course in the Content Collection and link to them again. Content can be accessed via the Content Collection tab at the top of the Bb page.
Content Collection
This page will give you access to course content and other content when available.

Tab view of CC
You will also find your content collection available to you from any course control panel in the Content Collection area.

Content Collection_in course

When you access the content collection area from within a course site you will have access to a personal folder with your MCC username, a folder for the course you are in, a folder that contains content for all the other courses that you are assigned and folders for organizational and institutional content. *If you find that you do not have a personal folder (the one with your username) please let me know.

You can :

  • You can store content for multiple courses you teach.
  • You can share content across courses and with other users.
  • Students may have access to store or share files.

For Further Information on the Content Collection

Upgrade Information

Blackboard much like any other computer software needs to update from time to time.  MCC has not had a major upgrade in quite some time. Right now there are a couple of things in Bb that do not operate as you would expect including the discussion board.  This upgrade should fix those issues and add some additional functionality.  The upgrade will require some downtime; this will mean that Bb courses will be unavailable for student use or for course development work so please be prepared.

Upgrade Begins:  Saturday, August 19th, 10:00 pm

Upgrade Complete:  Sunday,  August 20th, 2:00 pm

Changes Coming:

  • Blackboard will now support the Microsoft Edge browser
  • When creating announcements “not date restricted” will be selected by default.
  • If you upload files with special characters (such as / \ : ? * ” < > |)the system replaces the special character with an underscore ( _ ).
  • When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the “hot spot” in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.
  • Administrators and instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.  For More Information
  • Blackboard has ended support for the Virtual Classroom and Chat tool.  The tool will continue to function however Bb will no longer accept reported issues with the tool, in addition, bugs and security issues will not be addressed.

If you have any questions please let me know

Massachusetts Colleges Online Conference (MCO)

It is that time again Massachusetts Colleges Online (a.k.a.: MCO) will be having its conference on eLearning best practices.  This conference has been very popular and useful to people who have attended over the 12 years that it has been run.

When:  Tuesday, June 6th
Where:  Greenfield Community College
Time:  7:30 – 3:00

This year’s keynote speaker will Dr. Susan Aldridge of Drexel University, President of Drexel University Online.

If you would like to attend this conference please let me know via email:  Space is limited and I need to register people by May 1st so let me know as soon as you can.

The slate of conference sessions has not been finalized as yet but as soon as that has been set I will let you all know.  Further information is available on the MCO website:


Did You Know?

As you know we are having issues with You Tube videos not playing full screen and  in addition the discussion board is having access issues for instructors if they are made unavailable to students.  All of this is due to an update to fix other issues.

All that aside I wanted to ask you if you knew that you could disable students ability to participate in discussions without making the entire discussion unavailable to them?  You can set a role for the students in discussion that is read only after the due date for discuss participation has passed.  In order to do this proceed to your discussion and locate the forum where you want to terminate students participation .  Locate the menu as if you were going edit the forum and select “Manage”.manage-db

Once that has been selected you will get a list of students names and you will notice that they have a role of participant which means they can create threads and reply to messages.


If you check the boxes in front of the students names and proceed up to the “Edit Role” button at the top left side of the page you will see a list of roles available.  If you change the role of the students to reader they will no longer be able to contribute to the discussion but they can read what was contributed. This change of role would allow you to keep the discussion open and to be able to go in and edit if needed.

In order to fix the You Tube and Discussion issues it will require Bb downtime, so I am currently trying figure the best time available to do that.  In the meantime if you have any questions please let me know.

YouTube Video Issues

It has come to my attention that there is an issue running YouTube videos in the full screen mode through Blackboard.  Full screen viewing has become impossible due to decisions made by made by the company.  This issue is not browser specific so the issue is wide spread.  There are several different ways for students to deal with the issue.


This is about the size of the video window that you will get and regardless of what you do it will not get any bigger.  This could cause presentations to be difficult to view.  The alternatives are as follows:

  • Clicking on the share arrow (highlighted in yellow in the upper right) you will be able to access the video on the YouTube page which will allow the full screen view.
  • If you have included the URL for the video when you have embedded the video the students can right click on it and have it open in a new tab or window.  The same thing will happen if they right click on the “Watch Video” button indicated in yellow.



Returning to the Classroom

Greetings I hope that the summer has provided some rest and relaxation.  As you prepare to return to the classroom there are a few things you will want to remember and one or two new things you may want to know.

The first thing is to copy your course into your new course sites.  You do not have to start from scratch you can copy a course from a previous semester using these attached directions CopyCourse .

If you are using WIKI’s in your Blackboard course site I will advise you that there is an issue with WIKI’s when you copy them from course to course.  I won’t go into the details here (I might put you to sleep).  Your best bet is to start fresh with your WIKI’s in your fall course instead of copying them from a previous course.

If you are unfamiliar with the basic use of Blackboard there is online training available via a series of videos and some handouts.  The link for the training should be available in the “My Organizations” module on the Blackboard Community Tab.


If you do not have links to “Using Blackboard”,  “Blackboard Test Preparation and Grade Center”or  “Accessibility Online” in your “My Organizations” module you can enroll your self in the site.  Using the “Organization Search” box on the Community page you can search for the titles.  Then you will be provided a link to the training site and at the bottom of the menu there will be an Enroll button.  Once you have clicked that you will have access to the materials in the site and a link should appear in you Organizations module.

There are couple of new elements available to you that may make things easier.  The first item of interest is the “Qwickly” module that you will find on your Blackboard homepage.

Qwickly Mod
This module will allow you to make multiple courses available at the same time, post an announcement to several courses at the same time and send an email to multiple courses at the same time.  The following playlist has video demonstrations to use all three of the tools that are available.
QWICKLY Directions

The other element may make it easier for folks that work with portfolios.  We are currently working  to integrate Digication with Blackboard.  Please stay tuned for further information.

Upcoming Opportunities


The Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) Conference which will occur on Thursday, June 2nd at Greenfield Community College.

There are two elements that are necessary to have this conference.The first is for people to present their ideas and best practices.  MCO Save the Date Call for proposals the attached form has the particulars about presenting.  You can submit your conference proposals here:

The second thing that a good conference needs is people to attend.  This conference will give you lots of opportunities to hear what other folks are doing that may give you a new idea and to see the people that have won the Course of Distinction award present their courses so that you can see why they won.  As with any conference that you go to it’s a chance to network with your peers from across the state.  MCO Save the Date postcard 2016MCC.  If you want to attend this conference the information is on the attached postcard it has the date time and location information. Please contact me if you are interested in attending.  The college will be paying the $50.00 fee for attendance at this conference.

Nancy A. Nesset Curll
Manager E Learning
Ext.:  3334

Middlesex will only be allowed to send 10 faculty members to the conference so please let me know if you would like to attend.  Attendees will be taken in the order that I contacted and I will be keeping a wait list.


Using Publisher Material in Conjunction with MCC Blackboard

Are you using a publisher website in conjunction with your course?  Do you know that there are  publishers that provide tools that will integrate your publisher tools with your MCC Blackboard site?  Currently the MCC Blackboard will integrate materials from the following publishers:

I will keep the Blackboard components up to date and I will attempt to keep this material up to date.  If you need more information than what I have provided here please contact the technical support folks at the publisher end of things.

Copying Courses

Over the years you all have learned to copy your course materials from one site to another and I appreciate the fact that you have stepped up to the plate and taken responsibility for that part of the process.  That being said I would like to request that you take an extra step in the process.

When you copy a course I have generally said to select everything and I would like to rescind that statement.  Only copy the areas that you really need to as there are some courses that have gotten so big that they will not copy properly.  There has been a size limit put on courses of 1Gb and we have MANY courses that have gone well beyond that size. The process should now include an extra small step that will allow you to reduce the over all size of your course.

In addition to only copying what you need please do not copy forward imported course files from previous versions of the course. You can do this by Calculating the size of the course and then Managing the Content that you copy forward to eliminate any prior imported course packages (labeled “imported content”) I have slightly revised the directions for copying course
CopyCourse directions

In Case of Snow Hold Your Class Online

I’m sure by now that you’re all tired reworking your syllabus and your calendar due to snow days.  Well would you like to be able to make up for lost time?  Have you thought about using Blackboard to help you with that?  You can do quite a bit with a very basic Blackboard course site.

A basic site with no content has two areas where you can add materials for your students, on the menu these areas are located under Syllabus and Content.  The quickest and easiest way to put things up is to simply attach the files.  You can attach documents, spreadsheets, Power Points and a variety of other file types.  In order to attach the files you will want to have the edit mode in the course turned on(located upper right corner).  EditSwitchSelect the area on the menu where you want the material to go.  At the top of the page will be a grey bar with four buttons on it, the one that you will be working with is Build Content.

BuildContentBarThis will open a drop down menu from which you should select File.  This will then take you to a page where you can browse for your file and upload it to the course site.  Be sure to click SUBMIT (top or bottom right hand side of the page) this is Blackboards version of SAVE.

You may also send your students email through Blackboard.  Here is a video demonstration:


You can also build assignments in Blackboard so that students can submit work online.  Create Assignment this attachment will guide you through the steps of creating a Blackboard assignment.  Here is my video demonstration of how to create the assignment:

Here is the video of how students submit assignments:

Here’s how to grade the assignments: