Many UTEP faculty are new to using Blackboard. This page is designed to introduce you to some useful features and tools available in the Blackboard system. You will find descriptions with links for how-to guides on how to log in, upload your syllabus, how to manage your grade book, use the content editor, and more.
After reviewing the page, we suggest that you browse to the UTEP Campus Edge Sol page to find the workshops and webinars that best fit your schedule.
The first thing you will want to do is log into Blackboard. You log in by going to https://my.utep.edu/My and clicking Sign In on the upper-right corner of the page banner. You then select Blackboard under the Applications section.
Once logged in, you will land on the Institution Page. You can use the left-hand menu to find different resources such as the Summer 2020 Teaching Organization under Organizations and the courses you are teaching under Courses.
If you experience issues logging in, please contact the UTEP Technology Support.
Every course scheduled in Goldmine automatically has a Blackboard shell attached to it. Just click on your course to open the shell. We recommend that you email your assigned instructional designer to request that a Blackboard course template be inserted into your course. This will provide a good framework for the course that includes a weekly learning module containing placeholders for learning objectives, readings, videos, and discussions. These can easily be modified to best fit your course material.
Finding Your Course
After logging into Blackboard, select Courses from the left-hand menu. You will be able to view your current, past, and upcoming courses on this page.
The Control Panel menu is the area in which much of the development of a course takes place. It is used to develop, customize, and maintain a course.
- Content Collection: This is the area where every file you upload or add to a course is stored.
- Course Tools: Contains links to all available tools in a course. Examples include Announcements, Zoom, MS Teams, Course Messages, and Test, Surveys, and Pools.
- Evaluation: Provides links to Course Reports, the Performance Dashboard, and the Retention Center. You can learn more about these under the Assessment Tools tab.
- Grade Center: Provides links to the Needs Grading page, the Full Grade Center, Assignments, and Tests.
- Users and Groups: Users links to the course roster. You are able to create and manage groups of students to collaborate on work under Groups.
- Customization: This section allows you to change the properties of the course (such as its availability), the appearance of the course, and Tool availability.
- Packages and Utilities: Contains links to Import, Export, and Archive the course, check course links, copy all or part of the course, and move selected files to Course Files or the Content Collection, when available.
- Help: Offers support contacts, additional Blackboard help, and video tutorials.
Allows instructors to manage their courses. This button is located in the upper‐right corner of each Course area. Before making any edits to the content of your course, make sure you set Edit Mode to ON. With Edit Mode OFF, you see what your students see.
A course syllabus provides a wealth of information about the faculty member and the course to students. There is no one way to write a syllabus, but there are several kinds of information that are essential and will improve communication between faculty and students. Those essential elements can be met following the Online Syllabus Checklist.
Below are some downloadable templates that will help provide the best experience for students while also following best practices for teaching online.
Completed Course Syllabus Example - Sample syllabus with detailed explanations in the margins. This syllabus is modeled using Rhetoric and Composition material, as well as required University policy. Please use this as a guide when creating online syllabi. Customize the content and simply delete the comments in margin prior to use.
Course Calendar Template - Sample calendar to be used as a template for the class schedule of assignments and related events. This is a stand-alone document and should not be added to the class syllabus (for increased usability and accessibility). Faculty are encouraged to schedule repeated assignments or assessments (like weekly discussion boards and quizzes) on the same day and time for consistency and reliability.
The following Blackboard tools will help you customize your course and the material you deliver. This section contains resources on how to design your course in a variety of formats and methods to restrict or release time-sensitive course content.
The content editor allows you to enter text, paste content from Microsoft Word, add hyperlinks, attachments, images and more. It is available when creating new content such as files, pages, folders, and tests. For more information on how to edit text visit the add and format content Blackboard Help page.
Blackboard allows you to create different types of containers to organize content in an engaging and dynamic way. Content areas are the top-level containers that provide your course structure. Typically, courses contain multiple content areas. Inside content areas you are able to add folders, learning modules, and lesson plans to better
1. Content folders can contain content items and other containers such as files, pages, or other folders.
2. Learning modules can also contain content items and other containers. You can add a table of contents and require sequential viewing of its content.
3. Lesson plans can hold lesson profiles, instructional objectives, and the content items students need to complete a lesson.
Another practical way to organize and effectively display your content is by using links. Course links can direct students to an existing area, tool, or item in a course. A web link is a hyperlink connection to a website outside of the course. You could create a web link for your students to easily access university resources such as the UTEP Library, Writing Center, or the UTEP Help Desk. Adding a tool link creates a shortcut to a course tool, i.e. journal, calendar, etc. Tool links can be useful for referring students to other areas of your course. For example, after a lecture, place a tool link to a discussion forum and ask students to discuss points raised in the lecture.
This tool allows instructors to control how, when, and to whom course materials, tests, and assignments are made available. The rules may be related to availability, date and time, individual usernames, membership in course groups, review status of another item in the course, and Grade Center items such as scores, attempts, and calculated columns.
The following Blackboard tools will help you manage your grade book more effectively and provide you with resources to proactively resolve student issues and promote student/instructor engagement.
The Grade Center allows instructors to record students' grades. It resembles a spreadsheet that was designed to be used as a grade book. Each row represents a student in your course and each column includes information for assessment items such as an assignment, test, discussion, or survey. You can also use columns to calculate grades such as total, weighted, or average.
Students can benefit from seeing grade progress or your feedback and, if necessary, adjust their approach to learning to improve performance. NOTE: Students can access their own, individual grades from the “My Grades” page.
- Needs Grading: This page can help you determine what needs your attention first when you have a heavy grading workload. You can view, sort, and filter all items ready for grading.
- Full Grade Center: The link displays all columns and rows in the Grade Center and is the default view of the Grade Center.
- Course Reports: Run course reports to view information about course usage and activity. You can view summaries of course usage such as which course areas are used most frequently and course access patterns for specific students.
- Performance Dashboard: Provides a window into all types of user activity in a course in the form of reports.
- Retention Center: Aallows you to monitor student performance and participation in a course. It can help discover and alert students who are potentially at risk.