eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.


Social learning

Looking for a 1st week of class activity? Introduce your students to Blackboard’s Social Learning tools.

One of the most important things your students can do while they pursue their education is to begin to build their PLN or Personal/Professional Learning Network.

A personal learning network is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.

Linked-in, Twitter feeds, professional user groups, blogs and connections your students make to colleagues are all examples of ways students can extend their PLN.  Blackboard now offers a way students can begin this experience with the new Social Learning Tools.

With Blackboard’s social learning tools you can:

  • Have an enhanced Profile where you create your online academic identity and share only what you want to share. Profiles include a profile wall for communication and the ability to message and follow other users to make connections and build your learning network.
  • Use the People tool to find your students and peers, at your school or at another school with Blackboard Learn, and build your global learning network.
  • Message anyone within the global learning network.
  • Create a collaboration Space that you control, where you can communicate with others for departmental collaboration, best practice sharing, committee work, or to foster social learning among your students. You can also participate in spaces created by your peers or students.

Why the First Week?

  • Familiarizes the student with the My Blackboard menu which gives them access to their social profile as well as the dashboard for what’s going on in all of their courses.
  • Provides a way for student to identify themselves via photo and professional, educational and social information.  Once student has uploaded a photo, every interaction they make in your course will display their photo along side it so you and fellow students can connect with each other.
  • Let’s the students know that you are interested in them as more than just a person taking a class, which can start their learning journey out on the right foot.
  • Greases the wheels of communication:  Prompts the students to start collaborating/interacting from the start.

You can find instructions for using these tools in the Teaching Online tab in Blackboard and your students can find instructions through the Getting Started tab.  Both sets of instructions are accessed by using the Get Connected link in their respective course’s navigation menu.  You can also find instructions on the web here at

BbWorld Blog: Wikis, Blogs, Forums, Journals- Which One Do I Use & Why?

7/12/2012 | Room 276

Deborah Prickett
English Instructor
Jacksonville State University

Rewrote mission statement to be a “learning centered” university.   Doing a lot of challenge based learning in the English Department.  Offering many hybrid courses.


  • Prompts or not
  • Replies when required
  • Checking for posts that respond
  • Students – not continuous Engagement
  • Grading Fast and easy

Discussion forum keeps track of all comments(replies) in Gradebook.  Blackboard Blogs & Wikis do not.


Individual Blackboard Blogs are better Chunked.  Put them together so that they are easier to grade.  This professor created an individual blog for every chapter.  Great for multimedia input (videos, pictures, charts etc).  Great for older students.

Students are used to looking at blogs.  Blogs are more visual.  Forums have Tree Structure.

*Tip:  Have your students decide how the assignment will be graded: A student created Rubric!

BbWorld Blog: New Ways of Communicating at Xavier University

7/11/12 1:50pm

Subject:  Implementation and uses of Connect to communicate on campus.

Moving from just using connect for emergency communication to using it for alumni, financial aid, student activities etc.

Test messages to cell phones, PDAs networked digital signage, and other text based devices and messages to e-mail accounts.  Personalized voice messages to land line and cell phone.


Only issue was collecting required data (cell phone number).  Had students fill out survey with cell phone and alternate e-mail address.

Bursar’s office use:
Registration – Notify students to pay for classes before they are dropped.

Refund Checks -Notify students receiving refunds.

Bills – Notify students via text and e-mail on bills.

Financial Aid office Use:

Acceptance – Notify students to accept financial aid awards
Verification forms – Notify students to complete before aid is awarded
Attendance: Attend all classes before aid is posted.

Faculty Use: Faculty schedules, attendance codes

Department Use: Notify students on meetings and seminars.

Scholarship Use: Notify students when scholarships are available.

Newsletter Use: Alumni newsletter

Social event Use: Notify alumni in certain areas of regional events.

Fundraising use: remind pledger about pledge and due date

Create a data file (.csv or .txt) of the constituents you want to communicate with and send the message just to them!

You can get information (data) about all of your communication (sent, people reached, bad numbers and successful deliveries)

Generate reports can be generated from the data.

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