Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Putting a desktop icon of your Blackboard file system on your desktop.

This is in reference to the ‘Shared Location’ option found in the file system menu.

Blackboard allows you to create a server connection directly to the file system for a given course or organization. This will put an icon on your desktop and allow you to treat the Blackboard folder as you would a folder on your desktop. Once this is done you can upload, rearrange and delete files in your Blackboard course without logging in to Blackboard via a browser.

Here are the instructions for setting up the alias on a Mac or Windows for the course/org files area in Blackboard.

Blackboard’s instructions recommend that you disconnect from the server by either putting the icon in the trash or restarting the machine.  In cases where you are the only person working on that particular machine, you may want to retain access to the folder/server even after restarting your machine i.e. make the icon ‘stick.’  To do this you will need to

  1. Control and left click on the new drive connection on the desktop and select “Make Alias”.
  2. Rename the alias something else.
  3. When you restart the machine or disconnect the initial icon, the Alias will remain and can be used to easily reconnect. It will ask you to log in again.


Getting started with Job search sites

Job search sites are used to distribute application materials to faculty, staff, students and outside reviewers.

CHANGE IN PROCEDURE:  Use People Admin (requires you to login using your ObieID).

These sites were created on an as needed bases. If, for some reason,  you still need a site to be created, please fill out the appropriate form which can be found under the Need Help? tab after logging in to Blackboard or by clicking here.

Once you have your site, you should

  • Upload the appropriate documents. There are many ways to do this.  You can find more information on the Blackboard help site.
  • Enroll the appropriate users.  If there are users that are not in the system, you can request that an account be created for them by filling out the appropriate form on the Need Help? tab after logging into Blackboard or clicking here.


Who's online (Blackboard building block)

  Who’s on Blackboard is a Blackboard building block built to help students connect when they are working on Blackboard assignments. It was build by students for students and is under continual development.  For instance, students are currently working on an opt-out feature.

Photos are the same as the ones that show up on the landing page when someone logs in and can be changed by clicking on the Change Photo link in that module.

Information is taken from the student information system with the first name being taken from the ‘nickname’ field in Banner. Therefore, to change this setting , you will need to work with the registrar.

The program which was a winter term project, uses Blackboard APIs to access data that is stored on the blackboard server to show who is currently logged in. Furthermore this module filters and organizes the users who appear online by course. The purpose of this module is to encourage classmates to collaborate outside the classroom, especially in large lecture classes. This module will also be useful to students who are assigned group assignments with students they may not already know, allowing you to see your classmate’s photo along with their name and a link to their email.  All of this information is visible in the email directory.  Ideally, this module will be updated in the future to include an instant messaging feature.

    “Writing this module challenged us as programmers and critical thinkers. We became familiar with computer science languages including XML, HTML, JSP, CSS and strengthened our overall object-oriented programming skills. We experienced the difficulties of using APIs with mostly outdated documentation such as Blackboard’s and learned to navigate Blackboard’s framework. Overall, this experience has strengthened our skills as programmers and as team players.”

-WT OCTET 2014, Web Application Programming


Basic Blackboard Course/Org Interface

*Click on the image to see larger.  It will open up the image and you must click on it a second time.*

Instructor course page

A.  Page header: The area at the top of the page that contains the tabs, the global navigation menu, and Logout.  The tabs you see in the page header depend on your school’s licenses.
B.  Tabs: Blackboard Learn includes two common sets of tabs, discussed in the following tables.
C.  Content frame: Displays the selected tool or content area. By default, when you enter a course, the Home Page appears. You select the first page called the course entry point.
D.  Course menu: The access point for all course content. You decide which links are available here.
E.  Control Panel: The central access point for course management functions. You can manage the course style, course tools, and users from this area. Students do not see anything under the Course Management heading i.e. Control Panel functions.
F.  Action bar: Rows at the top of the page containing page-level actions such as Build Content, Search, Delete, and Upload. The functions on the action bar change depending on where you are in your course. The action bar can contain multiple rows of functions such as on the main Grade Center page.
G.  Edit Mode: When Edit Mode is ON, all the instructor functions appear, such as Build Content on the action bar in a content area or the appearance of contextual menus. When Edit Mode is OFF, you are viewing the page in student view. The Edit Mode function appears to users with a role of instructor, teaching assistant, course builder, and administrator.
H.  Breadcrumbs: As items and links are viewed in a content area, use the breadcrumbs to navigate to previous pages. Breadcrumbs trace the path to and from each item. Breadcrumbs, not the browser back button, are the best way to navigate backwards.



Understanding the Photo Display Suite

There are a number of options for viewing photos of users in your site.

Public vs Confidential versions

In courses, there are two Photo Display tools. One is accessed via the Control Panel>>Course Tools>>Photo Roster – Confidential. This tool is only available to Instructors/Assistants and Leaders in course and org sites. It will display the users that are enrolled (both preferred name and legal name), their picture, their major, class dean and year.  It will also have email links to the class dean and to the individual student.  N.B. The email links will only work if your browser has been set up to open an email client such as ocmail or MacMail but you can always copy and paste the link into your email.  If you need help configuring the automatic email process, please call the help desk at 440-775-8197.

The second tool allows the instructor to make a condensed version of the roster visible to all the users enrolled in the site. This tool can be found by clicking on the + sign at the top of the menu in the left margin. Choose Tool Link>>Photo Roster – Public.  Be sure to make the new area ‘available to users.’  Only the photo, name and a link to their email will be displayed in this view.

Printing the student roster

The easiest way to print a copy  is to break the content out of the Blackboard framework.  To do this right-click (WIN) or CTRL-click (MAC) on the link to the Student Roster link in the Control panel and then select  ‘open in a new tab or window’ (the wording may be slightly different in different browsers).  This will break it out of the Bb framework and allow you to use the browser print feature to print it out.  Unfortunately, this does not always work ;(

Changing your photo

This is done through the ‘change photo’ link found in the My Info module which, by default, can be found on the landing page and on the ‘Need Help?’ tab.


Adding media to local online media server space

There are many ways to put media online so that your students can have access to it.  The ones listed below have been suggested because they have ways of restricting access and thereby facilitating Fair Use compliance.

  •  Local Media Server managed by OCTET – contact OCTET to set this up. Content on this server is only accessible from oncampus computers.  Instructions for uploading to the media server. VPNcan be used if you are off campus.
  • Other options
    • Google Docs/Drive
    • YouTube on your google apps account (you can request the ability to store content that is longer than 10 minutes)
    • Free educational Vimeo account
    • dropbox

    Network file share managed by CIT – contact cit@oberlin.edu to set this up


Equipment Depot – Digital Arts

The equipment depot serves students and faculty involved in specific courses in Art, Cinema and Theater/Dance that involve the use of high-end video, audio and photographic equipment.  Students working on projects for their courses can check out everything from light kits to audio cables. Users must be trained on the equipment in order to use it.

Equipment is reserved via  Webcheckout, patron initiated reservation system.  If you are in one of the courses that studies and explains the use of the equipment, you will be given information on how to reserve equipment through this system.

As more and more information is delivered via multimedia, the traffic through the checkout has increased.

Shane Davis has been overseeing the management of this space as well as the scheduling of the shooting studio.

Hours of Operation, policies and information on how to reserve equipment can be found on our Blackboard site. You will need to have been given authorization to access the information.





Educational Vodcasting – Flipping the Classroom

Educational Vodcasting – Flipping the Classroom.

High school chemistry professor. Find out what students that come to Oberlin are now expecting because of what they’ve experienced in high school!



Shooting Studio – Mudd 443

The Shooting studio is used by primarily by students taking Cinema courses. It needs to be reserved through …

For those taking relevant courses and need to use the space for coursework, more information can be found at: blackboard.oberlin.edu



Creating a survey

We do have licenses for and support 3 other tools for conducting surveys:

  • Blackboard
  • Qualtrics
  • Google Forms
  • Survey Monkey is a very easy to use survey tool. However, Oberlin College does not have a license for this product nor do we have the expertise to support it properly.
  • Woofoo is another unsupported option

Be sure to check with the Institutional Research Board before conducting any studies where you are asking people to provide information.