USC Blackboard Faculty Welcome Movie: Fall 2012

Uploaded by USCBlackboardHelp on 17.08.2012

For those of you new to USC, welcome to the Trojan Family. For those of you who are returning,
welcome back.
USC uses Blackboard as its campus-wide, online learning platform, and you can access Blackboard
using any modern web browser by going to or by going to the University’s homepage
at, clicking ‘popular links’, and then clicking Blackboard. Then, just click
the “Log in to Blackboard” button.
You can also access many of Blackboard’s tools and features on your iPhone, iPad, Android,
Blackberry, or WebOS smartphone or tablet. Just download, install, and open the free
“Blackboard Mobile Learn” app available in your device’s app store or marketplace
and then search for and select “USC” or “University of Southern California”.
To log in to Blackboard, enter your USC NetID and password -- the same username and password
you use to log in to MyUSC or USC’s email system. If you ever have problems logging
in, make sure you’ve entered the correct user name and password, and also make sure
your caps lock is off. If you still cannot login, call ITS Customer Support at 213-740-5555.
Once you login to Blackboard on a PC or Mac, you’ll see a box on the right side of the
screen called “My Courses Plus” that can be a bit confusing. My Courses Plus automatically
organizes all of your Blackboard courses by semester into collapsible folders. The first
four digits in both the folder name and the course name is the year (like “2012”).
The last digit is the semester: 1 for spring, 2 for summer, and 3 for fall. So all of your
fall 2012 courses will begin with “20123.”
How do you request a new Blackboard course? You don’t have to. USC automatically creates
a Blackboard course for every course that your department has assigned you to teach.
Spring courses are automatically created on November 15, summer courses are created on
March 15, and fall courses are created on April 15. Why does USC automatically create
a Blackboard course for every USC course? In the event of a campus closure or suspension
of classes, the availability of courses in Blackboard will help you connect with your
students and continue teaching in a timely way.
What should you do if a Blackboard course is missing? Contact your department's course
scheduling coordinator in your department's central office immediately. Because Blackboard's
course creation and instructor assignment processes are completely automated and tied
to USC's official record, only your department's course scheduling coordinator can assign you
to teach a course, even on Blackboard.
One other confusing thing about the My Courses Plus module is this “not available” flag.
Does that mean the course doesn’t exist? No! “Not available” just means that the
course is not yet visible to your students. You see, to ensure that your Blackboard courses
and their contents are hidden from your students until you are ready, all Blackboard courses
are automatically visible to instructors and teaching assistants but hidden from students.
The “not available” flag is just a not-so-subtle visual reminder to you that your course is
currently visible only to you, not your students.
When you’re ready to make a course accessible to students, click the tool icon -- the icon
that looks like crossed hammers -- to the left of the course ID and then click the Make
Course Available icon. It’s that easy. This only works if you are an instructor, though.
If you are a TA, click the name of the "not available" course; under Customization click
Properties; click Yes next to Make Course Available; and click Submit. Your course is
now available to everyone enrolled in it.
Let me show you one more hidden secret about My Courses Plus. If you click the tool icon
to the left of any course, you have the ability to not only make the course available or unavailable,
but also to access the course’s gradebook, make an announcement, open the course’s
discussion board, or even write an email to everyone in your course.
Let’s get into a course. To access any Blackboard course you’re assigned to teach -- even
a course that is not available (remember, “not available” means that the course
is hidden from students, not from you) -- just click the course’s course ID in My Courses
This opens the course. You should see a course menu on the left side of the page. If you
get into a course and don’t see a Course Menu on the left side of your course's home
page, that usually signifies that someone has accidentally hidden your Course Menu.
To unhide the Course Menu, all you have to do is click the Show Course Menu [ the greater
sign button ] on the far left side of your screen.
How do you enroll students in your Blackboard course? Fortunately, you don’t have to.
Blackboard's student enrollment data comes directly from the university's Student Information
System and is updated several times a day. When a student officially enrolls in your
course, that student is automatically added to your Blackboard course roster. When a student
officially drops your course, that student is automatically removed from your Blackboard
course roster. The same goes for TAs. If you need to add a TA to your course roster, contact
your department’s course scheduling coordinator. Your coordinator can automatically enroll
your TA through the official university record.
So, here we are in a course. What’s next? You may want to upload files, create an announcement,
send an email. It is really up to you. How can you learn how to use Blackboard? USC Blackboard
help is available to you around the clock by clicking the Blackboard Help tab at the
top of any Blackboard page and then clicking “Getting Started”. As a USC faculty member,
you also have access to, an online training provider that offers video-based
courses on a broad range of computing topics, including Blackboard. Just click the Log in
to button within Blackboard to access these training videos. The videos at
are short—less than five-minutes long—and you can access them at any time. In addition,
ITS Customer Support Center Blackboard consultants are available by telephone 24 hours a day,
7 days a week. Just call (213) 740-5555 and choose option 3.
You will also notice that you are enrolled in a course named “Blackboard Best Practices”.
Designed specifically for USC’s faculty and teaching assistants, this self-paced course
provides field-tested tips and tricks for getting the most out of teaching with Blackboard.
For example, the course shows you how to structure your lessons, how to embed cloud and Web 2.0
resources such as Twitter feeds, and even how to use different survey and polling applications.
Best of all, the Blackboard Best Practices course also has a hidden benefit: it lets
you see exactly what a Blackboard course looks like from a student’s point of view.
Finally, I want to give you a sneak peek at the next version of Blackboard. Over the winter
2012 holidays, USC is going to upgrade Blackboard to version 9.1 service pack 9. This new version
will introduce instructor-requested improvements to several Blackboard tools. It is also going
to “reskin” Blackboard to give it a cleaner, less cluttered, more professional look-and-feel.
The Blackboard tools and course layout you’ll use in the fall semester will still be there
and work the same when you come back to campus in January. The only major differences you’re
going to notice are, in 2013, several existing Blackboard tools are going to work better
and Blackboard is going to have a softer background and neutral colors. We’ll talk more about
this later this semester.
In the meantime, may you have a wonderful fall 2012 semester at USC. Remember to make
your courses available to students, and drop us a line if you ever need any help.