You probably have a variety of course documents you provide to your students. Such documents include the syllabus, handouts, projects and assignments. By providing these documents in a central location, your students learn quickly to go to Blackboard to get everything they need for your class. Also, when students forget something that is in the syllabus, you can simply say, "Go to Blackboard and review the syllabus again." Having all of your course documents in a central location saves you and your students' time.
With Blackboard you don't have to key in every students' email address. You simply go to the Communication button and you can select whether to email all students or select students from a list. Also, you can create announcements for your course. You may create an announcement to remind students of a due date or a test they will be taking next week. Whatever announcement you create, it will appear on the first page students see when they log into your class and with one click you can also email the announcement to all students. What a time saver.
Students prefer to see grades immediately. This electronic access reduces the number of inquiries - phone calls and emails - from students wanting to know a grade on a specific assignment or their overall grade in the course. Students can then be responsible for tracking their own performance in the class.
You can develop quizzes and tests students can take through Blackboard. When students complete an electronic test/quiz through Blackboard, it is automatically scored and placed in the grade book. This feature is a great time-saver for faculty, particularly in large classes. Blackboard time-stamps each test/quiz so you know whether the student took it within the allotted time. Tests/quizzes can also be designed to cut off at a certain time and date. Therefore, if students do not take the test/quiz at the allotted time, they cannot get access at a later time. Faculty can set up the test/quiz to provide detailed feedback on each question or simply the right/wrong answer for each question.
Assignments can be submitted on Blackboard electronically. Faculty can then open the assignment, grade it, enter comments and corrections easily and quickly, and enter a grade for the student. This saves time and paper because the student or you do not have to print the assignment. To tell if a student has submitted an assignment, look in your grade book. An exclamation point notes that the student has submitted the assignment and a pad lock indicates that the student has saved the assignment, but it is not ready for grading.
There are a variety of Web-based tools built into Blackboard. Some examples include e-portfolios, wikis, and blogs. These tools provide students an opportunity to meet project requirements in a variety of ways. Some of these tools also allow for student collaboration and the opportunity to edit the work of others.
A self- and peer-assessment tool is built into Blackboard. This tool gives students the opportunity to critique their work and the work of others. This helps students learn to provide constructive feedback and see how other students may approach the same project or assignment. They learn from each other as they assess themselves and/or others.