Dr. Marcovitz uses Blackboard in his classes in various ways. While most information will be provided to the class via the class Web site, some information may be provided using tools in Blackboard. Primarily, Blackboard may be used for: discussion boards, file sharing, the digital drop box, and group communication. Blackboard can be accessed by going to https://blackboard.loyola.edu/ and logging in with your Loyola username (generally, your first initial and middle initial and last name) and password. When you sign up for a class, the Office of Technology Support automatically enrolls you in that class's Blackboard class. If you have trouble accessing Blackboard or need your password reset, call the Office of Technoloyg Support (410-617-5555) or email them (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some classes will use the discussion board feature of Blackboard. If the discussion board is not listed separately, on the menu (on the left side of the screen), you can access it via the Tools item on the menu. If a class is not using the discussion board feature, it might not be turned on for that class. If a class is making extensive use of the discussion board feature (such as ET605 3-credit), then the discussion board might be the default entry point for that class (i.e., when you go into Blackboard and click on that class, it might take you right to the discussion board).
Discussion boards are threaded. That means that each new topic generally has its own thread. When responding to a posting, the response is tacked onto the original posting as a reply. It will appear in the list of postings right below and indented from the original posting. Generally, when replying, it is not good practice to change the subject of the response because if there is a new subject, it probably should be in a new thread.
Some classes might use Blackboard discussions in lieu of class. This
is most likely to occur with a class like ET690 Educational Technology
Internship in which a Blackboard discussion might substitute for one or
more class meetings. In this case, your participation in the discussion
will be an important requirement for successful completion of the class.
For most uses of Blackboard discussion boards, you will not be allowed to start a new thread. The threads will be predetermined by Dr. Marcovitz, based on the needs of the class.
One way that files might be shared with the class is through the Documents section of the Blackboard class. Note that when you click on a document, it is likely to open within your browser, possibly even as a frame within Blackboard. This is not a problem for a document that you simply want to read, but it can cause issues for printing as well as accessing certain file types (such as PowerPoint). If the document is not opening the way you want, you might try right-clicking (ctrl-clicking on Macs with one mouse button) the link to the document and choosing Save from the flyout menu. This will allow you to save the file to your computer and open it with the associated application (e.g., Word or PowerPoint). If you open a document, and it appears within a frame within Blackboard, be sure to use your browser's frame capability to print the current frame (in some browsers, this is accessed by right-clicking on the frame of interest and choosing This Frame from the flyout menu).
Many assignments will be handed in using the Digital Drop Box. This can be accessed by clicking on Tools on the Blackboard menu on the left side of the screen. When you hand in files via the Digital Drop Box, be sure that the filename starts with your name. For example, if your last name is Smith, and you are handing in the Basket Weaving Assignment as a Word document, you should name your file SmithBasketWeaving.docx.
The Digital Drop Box cannot accept folders so if you are handing in a folder's worth of material (such as a Web page that includes pictures), you must first Zip the folder. This can easily be done in Windows by right-clicking on the folder and choosing "Send To" and "Compressed (zipped) file" from the flyout menu. On a Mac, right click (or ctrl-click) on the folder and choose Compres. You can then upload the zipped file to the Digital Drop Box.
Blackboard does not like the # character in filenames so please do not use it. For example, never name your second assignment SmithAssignment#2.doc. Instead, you could name it SmithAssignment2.doc.
Using the Digital Drop Box is very straightforward with one major exception. When uploading files, you have two options:Add File and Send File. If you choose Add File, the file WILL NOT BE SENT ("Add is bad"). It will look like it is sent. It will tell you it is successful. But it will not be sent. It will give you a dialogue box stating this, but it is the kind of dialogue box that most people never read and just click OK. Once you have added the file, you can then send it. However, it is easier to skip the Add File step altogether and choose Send File from the start. Send File will automatically add it and send it to the instructor. Just watch for the message "Receipt Successful." Note that the most common reason that this fails is that you still have the file open (e.g., within Word or PowerPoint) so be sure to close your files before sending them with the Digital Drop Box.
On occasion, classes might use the group areas of Blackboard. If so, Dr. Marcovitz will set up groups. Within groups, you can email group members, set up group discussion boards, and much more. This can be a useful tool for group communication. If you are working in a group, and Dr. Marcovitz has not set up group communication in Blackboard, and you would like it, ask him, and he will be happy to set up a group for you.
This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.
Last Updated: August 31, 2010