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:


Blackboard Grading App & Date Management

Announcing the Blackboard Grader App for the iPad. Hanging out watching soccer practice? Stuck waiting for an oil change? Sipping a latte at the coffee shop on a lazy Saturday?

Dreading that huge stack of virtual papers to grade in Blackboard?

Just pull out your iPad! Starting today, you can easily review, provide rich feedback, and grade student submissions to Blackboard Learn assignments while on the go with the Bb Grader App for iPad. This brand new app is now available for you to download and use on your iPad.

With Bb Grader comes your most requested grading-on-the-go features:

  • Inline viewing of student submissions
  • Gesture-based interactions for grading and feedback
  • Audio and video feedback capabilities
  • Class-level and assignment-level views
  • Compatibility with Assignment Multiple Attempts, Group Attempts, and Rubrics

For more information about the feature of the Grader App click this link BbGrader Features or try this web page.  Visit the

iTunes app store and check it out.

When instructors set up a new course, they often have a desire to use a previous course’s content and settings as the basis for the new course. Instructors use Course Copy. Date Management gives instructors the ability to have the system automatically “shift” content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way. After the system makes this shift, an instructor sees all the dates in one place, and can further validate and tweak dates in a single user interface, which greatly streamlines the process.

The first thing that you need to do is to do is to be sure that the tool is turned on in your course.

  • Control Panel
  • Customization
  • Tool Availablility
  • Check box left column

In order to make it work for you there are some adjustments that need to be made.  Accessed on the Control Panel in the Course Tools section, you can choose to adjust dates automatically or individually from one convenient location.

The first step of date management is to decide if you want the system to automatically adjust the previous or current course item dates to new dates.

  • Select Use Course Start Date or Adjust by Number of Days to adjust the date accordingly.
  • You can also review all dates and adjust them later on the Date Management Review page

View the video to get a better idea of how it works.




You may not have notice but Blackboard has a new tool that may be useful for you especially if you want to keep track of those students who may possibly be at risk.  This new tool is call the Retention Center and it is accessible for all the courses that you teach from the top right hand side of the main Blackboard page under your name.

Here’s a brief overview of the Retention Center:

As the new term begins, get early insight into student performance. Check the overall academic health of your class in the main table and see who is struggling. With just a glance, find out who needs your help and drill in to see their specific areas of difficulty. Contact the most at-risk students immediately and flag those you want to monitor closely. As you observe their progress and send emails, you can also keep track of this correspondence and make notes about each student right in the Retention Center.

Tailor the default rules to suit your teaching methodologies:

  • Change the threshold for due dates to be more lenient.
  • Create two or three new rules to track specific items that are good indicators of risk.
  • Create rules to let you know which students are in the top five percent of your class and reward their work. You can use this information to discover student mentors, assign group membership, or find teaching assistants.

Use your course activity information to prioritize which areas of your course to attend to first.

The earlier you can discover and remedy problems, the more successful students become. They are more likely to finish your course and continue the program through to graduation—the ultimate retention goal for an institution.

Access the Retention Center

The Retention Center is automatically on and immediately visible in your My Blackboard menu, and also accessible in the Evaluation section of a course’s Control Panel. The information in the Retention Center is for instructors only and is not seen by your students.

You can turn the Retention Center on or off in your course from the Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability. If you teach a course with another instructor, and turn off the Retention Center, you are turning it off for both of you.


You can stop or start tracking individual courses from My Blackboard. On the Retention Center page, click a course link in the left panel and use the tracking link in the right panel following the course name. Once disabled, warnings will no longer be refreshed, and Retention Center is hidden in the Evaluation section of the Control Panel in the course.

 CLICK HERE for further information on the Retention Center

Keeping Up

The issue of courses randomly making themselves unavailable for student access should be resolved.  If you continue to have issues please let me know.

There is something that has come to my attention that has changed the way students submit assignments through Blackboard.  Prior to this version there was always a submission box where student could type the work that they intended to submit and in addition there was always a button to click for attaching the work.

This addition of Blackboard has added an extra click to the process.  They have hidden the submission field behind an extra button click.  This has caused some students to write their work in the comments field of the assignment. *The comment field is the only open field that is actually on the page.

View of Blackboard student assignment submissionWhen the student clicks the highlighted button then they will get the actual submission field.  The button to attach a file is directly under the “Write Submission” button.  If you would like to post a video of the process to your course try this one:


This is more specifically for those use the Pearson My Lab products in their course.  It has come to my attention that Pearson now has an integrated lock down browser  for tests.  This tool is configurable by the instructor when they set up tests.  The problem that I want you to know  about is that this lock down browser will NOT function on the colleges new virtualized computing environment.  So if you want students to take tests/exams via Pearson you will want to do without the lock down browser.  You need to consider how many students take their tests/exams on campus.

Please also be aware that Internet Explorer and FIrefox are the preferred browsers for these test and that it will NOT work at ALL on tablets.

One last thing for those who elect to use Safe Assign when students submit work.  I have had a few people say that students are having issues with submitting their work.  Please do not forget to synchronize your course to the Safe Assign database like this:

This is not the only thing that would prevent students from submitting to Safe assign.  This is a note from Blackboard that contains at least part of an explanation:  “In Learn 9.1 SP 13 and earlier, ensure your browser’s cookies are enabled before you click Submit. If they are not, you will receive an error indicating either you are not logged in, your session has timed out or you do not have appropriate privileges. (In Learn 9.1 SP 14, you won’t even be able to navigate to the Assignments page if your browser cookies are not already enabled.).”  There are a couple of other things that may prevent submissions:

  • The lack of a file extension or an unaccepted file type.
  • Acceptable file types are:
    • DOCX
    • DOC
    • ODT
    • PDF
    • RTF
  • The use of non standard symbols in the file name.

Student View

You may have noticed that there is a new button in Bb that everyone seems to have been asking me about for years, “Student View” which will give you a students view of your course.  It is an add on tool for now and does not function as I had expected,  IT DOES work.

The tool puts a demonstration student into your class (bb_demo_random number) and that student is the one that makes the button work.  However due to the way that enrollment works here at MCC the bb_demo_### will be moved over to a guest role and be made unavailable when the enrollment process runs.  You can however change the bb_demo_### students role so that the tool will continue to work for you.

  • Control Panel
  • Users and Groups —>Users
  • Locate your bb_demo_###
  • To the right of the user name (bb_demo_#####) there will be an action menu much the same as there is on Blackboard content.  Select “Change User’s Role in Course”.

demo userChangeRole





  • This action will take you to another page where you will want to change the demo students role to “Guest Student” and be sure that the Role in your course is available (YES).






  • As always click submit to save the changes.