About Blackboard open in new window
What is Blackboard?

View this short presentation by Tonia Malone. See How Technology Can Enhance Teaching & Learning

Blackboard is a tool that allows faculty to add resources for students to access online. Powerpoint, Captivate, video, audio, animation, and other applications are created outside of Blackboard and added into Blackboard courses for students to enhance teaching and learning efforts.

Here are some examples of how technology is used to support effective teaching and learning.

Multiple Learning Styles: Blackboard (Bb) can allow you to provide multiple content formats (text, images, sound, audio, animations, graphs, etc.), which allows for students to find material based on their preferred learning style.

Screen image of Bb conent

Repetition: Bb provides an area to place information about the course, assignments and exams in multiple locations. In the Syllabus a list of Course Goals/Objectives should be available. Repeating these goals/objectives within the assignment or content areas will direct the student through a learning path.

Screen image of a Bb Syllabus

Audio/Video: As with this Italian course, students benefit greatly by watching an Italian movie clip. Seeing and listening to native Italian speaking people is at their fingertips anytime, anywhere. Small movie clips can be added into a Bb course or larger files can be linked to the Media Streaming Server.

Screen image of video in Bb

Games: Who said education can’t be fun? Play Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire or provide crossword puzzles for students to use in Bb or in class.

Screen image of a PPT Jeopardy game


Online Content: You can provide materials online to allow students to review (syllabus, lectures, links, etc.) information on their own schedule. Access to PowerPoint presentations, old exam questions, homework answers, etc., can provide students with study tools that will improve their grades.

Screen image of the Bb Content area

Assessment Tool: You can create quizzes in Bb to allow students to test their knowledge on practice exams to verify their understanding before taking the exam in class.

Screen image of a Bb test


Assignments: Bb will allow you to create an Assignment that is placed anywhere within the content area. The student can read the information and submit the file for grading. Once the file is submitted, it can be accessed by the instructor via the Grade Center. The instructor can view the file, score, post comments for the student and themselves and submit the file back (Microsoft Word: track changes, comments, etc.)

The Assignment tool also allows the instructor to download all the files at once and remove them all at once when finished.

screen image of assignment

screen image of assignment gradebook view


Discussion Tool: Bb provides a threaded discussion, which allows students and instructors the ability to share concepts, ideas, questions and answers. One way to use this tool is for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Create a Forum that allows students to see FAQ questions/answers. They may be able to help each other and you can post all questions/answers there instead of emailing to individuals.
Discussion Forums can also extend class time discussion by providing tools outside of class. You may find using a Forum for exam-related questions very helpful as well.

screen image of the Discussion Board


Group Tools: Bb provides a collaborative area for student groups to discuss within a threaded discussion board, chat (synchronously) with their group members, exchange files for review or additions, and/or send email to each other. Students today have many responsibilities and finding a time and place to meet can be very difficult. These Group tools allow all users to meet on their own timelines.

Screen image of the Groups page

Virtual Classroom Tool: Students and instructors may communicate on a topic in the synchronous chat room within Bb. Real-time communication with Whiteboard tools can be used for collaboration and off-site office hours.

Screen image of the Chat tool


Interactivity: Interactive applications such as this Timber Structural animation can be placed into your Bb course. These applications can allow students to view information in multiple views with movement, graphics, and text. This provides multiple information for many different learning styles.

Screen image of a Flash Animation


Discussion Tool: Have students post their papers for peer evaluation during the developmental time. Then again after the final paper is turned in so that their peers can see how the paper progressed. Students are encouraged to create professional documents when they are published for others to view.

Screen image of a Discussion Board

Simulations: By simulating real life problems/issues students are able to repeat steps without extra expense or danger to others. These simulations can be performed at home or anywhere there is internet access.

Screen image of a Flash simulation


Digital DropBox & Grade Center: With the collaboration of the Digital DropBox and the Grade Center, students can submit assignments, that instructors can return with comments and changes (Word Track Changes feature). Once the final assignment is submitted, instructors can add the grade to the Grade Center. This way, the students are informed of their progress in the course and have ample time to adjust, if needed.

Screen image of the Gradebook

Blackboard is a web-based learning management system, which provides the following features:

More information about Blackboard Learning System 6.1 (white paper).

All instructors have a course in Blackboard. If you would like to login and access your course so that you may review the Blackboard tools go to How to Login to Blackboard.

More Information

Q: Why should I use Blackboard if I am able to see my students in the classroom?
A: Blackboard can enhance your one-on-one relationship with students by allowing you to provide handouts, course materials, syllabus, study tools (quizzes, sample tests), and discussion threads online.

Q: I already have a web site that contains my syllabus and course content. Why do I need Blackboard?
A: Your web site is a great resource for your students, but you are also limited to the amount of space you can use. Blackboard allows you to place all of your information in one place without limiting you to an assigned amount of space. Authentication (login) will allow only your students to sign in and view your course. This also enables you to view who has been to your site and what part of your site they have been accessing.

Q: How can I use Blackboard to enhance teaching and learning?
A: When you add content into your Blackboard course, you are allowing your students to retrieve information from any Internet connection. Blackboard provides communication and group tools such as discussion, group email, file exchange and chat sessions to encourage collaboration among students outside of class; this can also increase student preparation time. Additional online support files can be provided to aid the students when they cannot contact you.


Q: Why should I use Blackboard if I go to class?
A: Blackboard provides many great features that allow you to access your grades, content and communication tools. As a student, you are able to view class handouts, tests, and discussions that are provided by your instructor.

Q: How can Blackboard enhance my learning experience?
A: Blackboard allows you to view handouts, review tests, see the progress of your tasks, and more in order to enhance your learning experience at Cal Poly. Blackboard enables you to contact your instructor and other students outside of class time. Blackboard allows you to assist and collaborate with others to enhance your course experience; added content helps reinforce course concepts; and practice exams can be posted by your instructor to enhance your study skills.