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    New Features with BlackBoard 6.1
    by Sarah Cheverton, Manger of Faculty Development Services, CIT

    In the four years since the Blackboard course management system was introduced to JMU, the number of active course sites has grown exponentially.  In Academic Year 2000-01, 240 course sites were active on the system. In 2003-04, more than 1,900 courses were using Blackboard.

    The Blackboard Online Learning Systemís recent upgrade to 6.1 offers a number of valuable enhancements to JMUís primary online learning system.  

    You can learn about these new features and more through a number of Blackboard-related workshops the Center for Instructional Technology is offering this Fall:

    Blackboard 6.1 Complete for New Users
    Blackboard 6.1 Update
    Blackboard 6.1 Extras
    Blackboard Discussion Board Design
    Respondus Test Creation Plug-In for Blackboard
    Scantron and the Blackboard Gradebook
    .

    For more information, contact the CIT at x87061 or register online (select Catalog of Workshops).

    Hereís a listing of Blackboard 6.1ís new features:

    WYSIWYG Text Editor
    Format text easily using common editing tools. Edit font style and font size. Use bold, italic, underline, left align, center align, right align, numbered list, bulleted list, indent left, indent right, find, spell check, cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, WebEQ, MathML, HTML view, preview, help. Create hyperlinks, tables and lines. Add highlight color and text color. Easily attach document files, images, MPEG and Quicktime files, audio content and Flash/Shockwave content.

    Spell Check
    The spell check tool allows instructors to check the spelling of all course content.

    Quick Edit
    The quick edit feature allows instructors to easily toggle between the student view and the edit view of a Content Area, thus simplifying the process of adding content to a course.

    Advanced Group Manager
    The Advanced Group Manager significantly aids in the managing of group work within a Blackboard course. Located in the Control Panel, The Advanced Group Manager adds a group summary matrix, advanced group assignment feature, random group assignment and simultaneous multiple group delete function.

    Online Journal
    The Online Journal allows students to record their thoughts and comments concerning course-related topics. Instructors may then comment on these entries.

    Hide Unavailable Courses
    Blackboard 6.1 allows instructors to hide unavailable courses from their My Courses list.

    Glossary
    The Glossary Building Block permits instructors to load a course-specific glossary to their Blackboard course. Instructors may add terms to their courseís glossary either using the Blackboard interface or using an Excel spreadsheet.

    ďAssessment Made AvailableĒ Announcements
    The Assessment Announcement feature gives instructors the ability to generate an announcement when an exam has been made available to the students. The announcement tells students when a quiz was made available and where it may be found.

    Gradebook Improvements
    The Gradebook in Blackboard 6.1 adds an asterisk next to those gradebook items that are not visible to students. Gradebook items that do not have an asterisk next to their title are visible to students.

    E-mail comments and questions to:
    leidinrm@jmu.edu

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