Community College of Rhode Island

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Communications


Communications
Viewing Announcements

The Announcements tool is often used by instructors to communicate important, time-sensitive information. For instance, as an instructor, you can use announcements to provide the following:

  • Corrections and clarifications of materials
  • Assignment due dates or exam schedules
  • Reminders or helpful tips for success

As a default window on the Home Page, Announcements are typically one of the first things students see when accessing the course.

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Viewing the Calendar

Students can consult the Calendar to see events the instructor has added, such as:

  • Reminders of course meetings and chat sessions
  • Due dates for assignments and projects
  • Suggested milestones to help keep students on track

By default, students access the Calendar from the course Home Page. It can also be accessed by clicking the Tools link on the Course menu.

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If viewing by month, only the first few characters of the event title appear on the Calendar. Click the link for details.

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Viewing Course Tasks

The Tasks tool is used to keep track of work that must be completed. Each task has a status and a due date. The instructor identifies the course tasks and adds them to the list. The instructor identifies the course tasks and adds them to the list. The instructor may create a list of tasks for the entire term or just for a project.

Students can use this list to keep themselves on track and may be required to report their status for each task.

Students access "Tasks" from the "Tools" link on the "Course Menu".

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A. Click a task link to view the description.

B. The instructor can assign a level of priority for tasks:

  • Low priority icon - an arrow pointing down
  • Normal priority - no icon
  • High priority icon - exclamation mark

C. Click a task's "Action Link" to access the contextual menu.

D. A student can select the status of the task:

  • Not Started
  • In Progress
  • Completed

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Accessing the Roster

Students can use the Roster tool to view a list of the students enrolled in the course.

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A. Click the Tools link on the Course Menu to access the Roster.

B. Click Go on the Action Bar to display all students or use the drop down lists to narrow your search to specific students.

C. A list of students appears after clicking Go. Click the column heading to sort the contents. For example, to sort messages by last name, click the "Last Name" title or the caret beside it.

Finding Staff Information

On the Contacts page, students can view the instructor's contact details, office hours, and other personal data. They can also learn about teaching assistants and upcoming guest speakers.

Students access this information by clicking the "Tools" link on the Course Menu and selecting "Contacts".

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Sending Email

In your Blackboard 9.0 course, you can send email messages to other course members' external email addresses.

  1. Access "Tools" and click "Send Email".
  2. On the Send Email page, click the link for the "desired recipient group". A new page appears.
  3. For Select Users, or Select Groups, click the recipients in the "Available to Select" box and click the "right-pointing arrow" to move them into the Selected box.
  4. Enter the "Subject" and "Message".
  5. Optionally, Attach a file.
  6. Click "Submit".

Note: From your Blackboard course, you cannot send email to anyone who is not a member of the course.

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Note: to select multiple users in a row, hold down "Shift" and "click". To select users out of sequence, hold down the "Control Key" and "click individual users".

Important Tips:

  • Blackboard keeps no record of sent emails. You will receive a copy of your email in the Inbox of your external email account. Keep a copy of important messages in case you need them at a later date.
  • Blackboard will NOT recognize files or email addresses with spaces or special characters, such as #, &, %, $, and so on. Use only alphanumeric file names and addresses in Blackboard in general.
  • Do not send email through Blackboard without content in the subject line. Leaving the subject line blank may prevent the message from being delivered.
Sending Messages

You can also send messages to course members using the Messages tool. The Messages tool sends secure electronic messages within the course, without relying on external email addresses or clients, so external factors will not affect class communication.

Students are not notified if they receive a new message, so advise them to make routine checks for new messages. Both incoming and outgoing messages are saved in the Messages tool.

  1. Access "Tools" and click "Messages".
  2. On the Messages page, click "Create Message" on the "Action Bar".
  3. On the Compose Message page, click "To", and a list of course members appears.
  4. In the Select Recipients box, click to "select the recipients", and click the "right-pointing arrow" to move them to the Recipients box.
  5. Enter a "Subject" and "Body". If desired, use the Text Editor to format the text.
  6. Click "Submit".

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Click the Inbox link to view received messages.

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Click the Subject link to read the message.

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The Status column icons signify if the message has been read - an opened envelope, or unread - a sealed envelope.

Use a message's contextual menu to mark a message read or unread, or delete it.

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When you have finished reading the message, you can do any of the following:

  • Reply to the sender or reply to all recipients
  • Forward the message to another user
  • Delete the Message
  • Print the message
  • Move the message to a different folder

Note: The Move function will not appear on the Action Bar as an option until a folder is created.

Sorting Messages

Click the column heading to sort the contents by that field. For example, to sort messages by read and unread, click the "Status" title or the caret beside it.

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Last Updated: 8/13/13