Blackboard Group Assignments for Instructors
Before assigning group work
You don’t want students to see group activities as busy work. If group work doesn’t enhance your learning objectives and provide value, consider alternative teaching techniques. Only use group work for projects an individual student can’t do as well alone and finish in the intended amount of time.
Research shows that students work harder when others rely on them. To encourage this interdependence, create group assignments that require the students to divide the work to meet the goal, question and challenge each other’s ideas, and share feedback and encouragement.
Before incorporating group work into your course, consider these questions:
- Will the group work further my course objectives?
- What introductory material or group resource information can I provide to help students succeed?
- How will the groups be formed?
- Will students be involved in planning the groups?
- How will I assess students’ learning and maintain individual accountability? Will I require a group deliverable?
- How will I handle concerns and problems
Blackboard Group Assignments for Students
Some Considerations Before you begin
A course group must exist before you create group assignments for it.
- Students who are enrolled in more than one group that receives the same assignment will be able to submit more than one attempt for this assignment. You may need to provide these students with an overall grade for the assignment.
- Students who aren’t enrolled at the time that a group assignment has been submitted don’t have access to that submission. These students only see that the submission occurred.
- Students who you remove from a group can’t see the group assignments. They can access their submissions from My Grades.
- If you edit the assignment between creation and the due date, the entire group may lose any work already in progress.
- If you delete a group from the assignment after students have started an attempt but before submission, they’ll lose access to the assignment and lose their work.
You create a group assignment in the same way you create an assignment for students to complete individually. When you create a group assignment, a gradebook item is created automatically. You can create group assignments in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders. The group assignment appears in the course area where you create it and on the group homepage.
A few notes on marking Blackboard Group Assignments
- When marking a group assignment using Inline Grading, the overall mark given will automatically be submitted for all the students in the group and will become visible in the Grade Centre. However, you can modify individual students’ marks if you need to.
- Individual marks cannot be applied in the case of anonymous group assignments, as it won’t be possible to identify individual students.
Blackboard Discussions for Instructors
Online discussions provide unique benefits. Because students can take time to ponder before they post ideas, you may see more thoughtful conversations play out. You can observe as students demonstrate their grasp of the material and correct misconceptions. You can extend your office hours and reach students more often during the week so that learning is continuous.
Building a sense of community among students is crucial for a successful online experience. With online discussions, course members can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom.
For smaller course groups, you can also offer group discussions, available only to the members of the group.
Blackboard Discussions for Students
In discussions, you can share thoughts and ideas about class materials. In Blackboard Learn, course members can have the thoughtful discussions that take place in the traditional classroom, but with the advantages of asynchronous communication. Participants don’t need to be in the same location or time zone, and you can take the time to consider your responses carefully.
You can use discussions for these tasks:
- Meet with your peers for collaboration and social interaction.
- Pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and course content.
- Demonstrate your understanding or application of course material.
See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Discussions:
faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Discussion”
Blackboard Wikis for Instructors
Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials and provide a means of sharing and collaboration. Course members can create and edit pages quickly, and track changes and additions, which allows for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.
All course members can use the wikis tool to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. A course wiki is a vast source of information compiled by course members. Wikis can help build a community of collaboration and learning. Social interaction increases during the exchange of information.
Benefits of using wikis
Wikis can help course members build a shared repository of knowledge. As the knowledge base grows over time, you can expect the wiki to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.
With dedicated use, you can use wikis for these educational purposes:
- Provide an easy to use environment for communication
- Promote collaboration rather than competition
- Foster a social and interactive approach to learning
- Build partnerships where you can benefit from the strengths of others
- Increase network building, trust, and negotiation skills
- Provide support and prompt feedback
- Provide a one-stop area where information is searched, updated, and accessed easily and quickly
- Increase and enhance the possibility of creativity, spontaneity, and innovation through the application of reflective thinking
Blackboard Wikis for Students
A wiki is a collaborative tool that allows you to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials. A wiki provides an area where you can collaborate on content. Course members can create and edit wiki pages that pertain to the course or a course group.
Instructors and students can offer comments, and your instructor can grade individual work.
See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Wikis:
faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Wikis”
Blackboard Blogs for Instructors
A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended to share with others. Most blogs also have a commenting feature, so that people can respond to one another’s thoughts. Blogs encourage students to clearly express their ideas. Blogs also address the need to expand various aspects of social learning. From the instructor’s point of view, blogs are an effective means of gaining insight into students’ activities and provide a way to share the knowledge and materials collected.
In Blackboard Learn, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them. Similar to journals, you can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade.
Blackboard Blogs for Students
A blog is your personal online journal. Each blog entry you make can include any combination of text, images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments. Blogs are an effective way for you to share knowledge and materials created and collected in the course. You can post entries and add comments to existing blogs. Use your blog to express your ideas and share them with the class.
As the owner of a blog, you can create entries and your instructor and classmates can add comments. A course or a group can also own a blog. In the group area, all members of a group can create entries for the same blog, building upon one another. Any course member can read and comment on a group blog, but can’t create an entry if the user isn’t a member of the group. Your instructor can also offer comments and grade entries.
See our Aberystwyth FAQs on Blogs:
faqs.aber.ac.uk and search “Blogs”
Blackboard Groups for Instructors
Collaborative learning offers many benefits over traditional instruction. Studies show that when students work as a team, they develop positive attitudes, solve problems more effectively, and experience a greater sense of accomplishment.
You can organise students into groups so they can interact with each other and demonstrate their knowledge while they learn to appreciate the perspective of others.
You can create course groups one at a time or in sets.
In the Original Course View, each group has its own homepage with links to tools to help students collaborate. Only you and group members can access the group tools.
In the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section and select Groups. On the Groups page, you can view and edit your existing groups, and create new groups and group sets.
Blackboard Groups for Students
Instructors can create groups of students within courses. Groups usually consist of a small number of students for study groups or projects. These groups have their own collaboration areas in the course so that they can communicate and share files.
Your instructor places you in a group or allows you to select the group you want to join. Your instructor chooses which communication and collaboration tools are available to your group.
See the Aberystwyth FAQ on creating groups:
How do I create a student group in Blackboard? (Staff)
faqs.aber.ac.uk/534 or search “groups”
The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit are pleased to announce that the first of this year’s Academy Mini Conferences will be held on Monday 16th December 2019. This Mini Conference will explore the advantageous and complex nature of group work, in and out of the classroom, and as a mode of assessment.
We are looking for expressions of interest from members of the University to give presentations, demonstrations, workshops and discussions on their how they approach group teaching. If you would like to submit a proposal to this year’s mini-conference, please fill in this online form before Monday 18th November.
Potential topics might include (but aren’t limited to):
- Group assessment design and marking (including peer marking)
- Approaches to embedding group work into teaching (large and small teaching)
- Use of technology in group work
- Managing and supporting different group dynamics
You can register to attend the Mini Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.