Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Features in Blackboard 8.0 - An Overview

Blackboard 8.0 has lots of new features for both students and faculty. Here are the highlights:
  • A brand new gradebook called the GRADE CENTER.Instructors can: enter scores much more efficiently, select from a dual display of gradebook data, access audit/grade history changes, provide gradebook comments, freeze names for easier scrolling, upload multiple columns at once, build custom views, drop lowest scores, provide more effective comments, print progress reports, and easily email students right from the gradebook. This brand new, easy-to-use gradebook increases instructor efficiency and enables new customization, powerful analysis, and flexibility capabilities. Faculty will find lots of information on this page that will help you navigate the new Grade Center.

  • Several DISCUSSION BOARD user interface, navigation, and feature enhancements.Originally introduced in 7.3, the new discussion board enhancements provide: enhanced workflow, faster navigation, better collection views, forum level subscription, reply with quote, tagging, and the ability to mark messages read or unread. It's much easier to act on information more quickly and navigate more efficiently with streamlined discussion board.

  • A brand new EARLY WARNING SYSTEM feature.Originally introduced in 7.2, this new feature allows instructors to proactively measure, monitor, and communicate student performance with students, advisors, and other academic support personnel. Combined with the new Grade Center, Performance Dashboard, and Course Statistics, monitoring student engagement and enhancing student retention is more effective.

  • A brand new SELF AND PEER ASSESSMENT tool.This new feature allows instructors to give students more individualized feedback, as well as to focus on critical thinking skills. Self-assessment tools give students better insight as to what the evaluation criteria is and help build critical thinking skills, as well as promote active learning. Peer assessment tools give students the opportunity to provide constructive feedback to their peers and help faculty easily manage group assignments.

  • Blackboard SCHOLAR included. Scholar provides self-directed research and student contributions to course resource collections. It allows students and faculty to share resources, develop relationships, and collaborate across institutions across the globe.

  • WHAT'S NEW is now available.The What's New feature was originally introduced in 7.1. With Bb 8, the module can be loaded asynchronously so that the My Bb page loads much more quickly for students and instructors. The What's New tool is an effective way for students and faculty to increase awareness of new content, gradebook, discussion, and announcements items that have been posted in their courses.

  • EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS is a new feature.This allows instructors to easily create an announcement and also email their students with 1 action. This improves communication with students and is especially helpful in critical and timely messages.

The Grade Center - New in Bb 8.0

The Gradebook has been completely redesigned in Bb 8.0. It's now called the Grade Center. Check out this video for an overview:

Quick Tutorials for Bb 8's New Features

Click on each item for a tutorial of each new feature:

(Each link opens in a new window/tab).

Tip Sheets for Some of Bb's New Features