Using NYIT Blackboard Efficiently – Five tips to get you started

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It’s a fact here at NYIT, that you’ll eventually be forced into using the online Blackboard Learning System. If you log into “My NYIT” section on the school’s official website, you’ll find the NYIT Blackboard link at the top of your navigation panel. For some, using a virtual learning environment comes naturally, but for others, being removed from the classroom can be a bit of a jarring 21st century experience. Whether you already feel comfortable with Blackboard or completely new to the experience here are five tips to make your experience top notch.

Customize your experience– The first item of business to take care of when you sign into Blackboard is to organize your homepage and make it your own.

The homepage itself is made up of various modules that are not limited to, but include “My Courses”, “My Announcements”, “My Tasks” and “Tools”. You can drag on the title bars of each module to re-arrange them how you see fit. You can organize the modules to the best form that fits you and even add more modules by clicking on the “Add Module” button in the upper left hand corner of the page.

One of the modules we strongly recommend customizing is “My Courses”. On the module, click on the small gear icon in the upper right hand corner. Clicking the aforementioned gear will bring you to a page that lists all of the Blackboard courses you are currently taking and those you’ve taken in the past. Use the main checkboxes on the left side of the page to select only the courses you’re currently taking – leave all older courses unchecked. Now when you return to the homepage, the “My Courses” module will not be flooded with all the courses of the past – just your most recent.

As a friendly touch, you can also visit the Blackboard homepage and select the “Personalize Page” button in the upper right hand corner of the site. From here, you can choose what colors you want your homepage and modules to appear as – if you are going to stare at this website for four years, you might as well like how it looks.

Use the tasks sections- Managing content online can be a bit of a challenge for those who are accustomed to writing down information and due dates in their notebooks. While Blackboard does feature an online calendar where professors can add their due dates for items, it is rarely used.

Instead, get familiar with the “Tasks” section of Blackboard to manage your academia. From the Blackboard homepage, select “Tasks” within the Tools module. From here, you can easily add personal tasks with due dates, descriptions, and priorities.

Head back to your Blackboard Homepage and make sure the “Tasks” module is present, as it will keep you informed of upcoming tasks every time you login to the system. If the “Tasks” module is not showing by default, you can add it via the “Add Module” button in the upper left hand corner of the page.

Easily contact anyone in your class- One of Blackboard’s strong points is communication; using the built in email section, you can reach any of your fellow classmates or your instructors. From the Blackboard homepage’s “Tool” module, select the “Send Email” option and you will be presented with a list of all of your courses.

Simply click on the course in which you want to interact and you will be redirected to a list asking whether you want to contact fellow students, instructors or select individuals. The emails themselves will be sent via your NYIT addresses, so you can monitor for a response and follow up using New York Tech’s Gmail service via the web.

Clear updates for new announcements- When your instructors need to pass on new announcements to the class, you want to make sure that they don’t get lost in your update list. When you receive a new update, a red icon will appear in the upper right hand corner of the Blackboard homepage. Be sure to check these updates and select the “Dismiss” button once you have read them.

Even after you have cleared away announcements, you can revisit them later by selecting the “Announcements” link in the “Tools” module on the Blackboard homepage.

When managing your courses online, it’s important to keep everything neat and organized. Performing an action as simple as clearing out old announcements will go a far way in assuring that you’ll stay on point and won’t get lost.

Do not be afraid to contact your instructor- To some this may seem obvious, but it’s an important tip worth noting. Just because you’re taking part in an online digital environment, doesn’t mean that your instructor cannot help you out when needed.

If you are unsure of how your instructor is using Blackboard for their course, it’s always okay to contact them with questions; either you can contact them using the information they gave you when the course first started or via the Blackboard email method we detailed in the above section.

Blackboard is here to help you learn and we hope the above tips can enhance your academic journey!

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