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Blackboard Tips September 2, 2006

Posted by L Wolfe in Class Stuff.

153 unread messages? What? Are you wondering if you will still be sane after schlepping through the discussion board? I found the options tab to be a good way to manage the discussion boards on Blackboard. A lot of people already know this, but if you don’t, here’s my method:

* Click on Discussion Board (obviously)
* Click on a Topic
* Click on the “show options” tab on the top right of the messages

You then will see a list of choices at the top of the messages: select all, unselect, invert, read, unread, collect. If you don’t care about the messages (or your grade), choose “select all” and “read” and the messages will blissfully no longer appear in bold type.

What I like to do is break down a long list of messages by thread; one person will start it (“managing change”) and each response will begin with re: (“re: managing change”). I check the box next to each message in the thread and then click “collect”. The messages will appear all together. If you want to get really quick about it with a dialup connection (yes, I do still have that at home!) then open these collected groups of messages in another tab in your browser. It can load on another page while you are reading. If there is a message that inspires me to reply, I click “reply” in another tab or window while I am reading down the thread. Otherwise I have to collect the thread again. Anyway, this method definitely decreased my level of anxiety looking at the unread messages. Anyone else find a good way to work with Blackboard? And what about Blackboard etiquette? Any thoughts?

And FYI Firefox is a great browser for multiple tab browsing; there are a lot of keyboard shortcuts that make it easy. And there are a log of fun extensions and plugins.



1. heyheypaula - September 3, 2006

One thought I have on BB etiquette is that it’s really nice to use that subject area to give your post a descriptive name…even if it is in a continuing thread. What happens in the high traffic classses is that there are 50 messages with the same subject heading, but the actual topic of the thread has changed a few times. You can even rename the thread something useful like LISSTLOUS (was Blackboard Tricks) to tell all the other users that the topic has changed. Firefox (and getting used to using tabs) will be helpful not only for this class, but for researching/browsing in general. I actually use Opera as my browser now, which works similarly with the tab business, because I like having my email client and web browser in the same program, and becausse many of the same extensions are available too.

2. heyheypaula - September 3, 2006

Oh, and here’s my other tip besides Lisa’s great thoughts…keep up with it every day if you can, or at least every other day. You won’t get as much out of the discussion aspect of the class if you read all 153 messages (or more than that) in one day. It just doesn’t stick in as well, plus its’ stressful to do it all at once. Everyone is busy with work, family, etc, but sometimes that just means being creative in when to get that BB time in.

3. DrumPhil - September 8, 2006

I second Paula’s comment about keeping up. I check BB at work while eating lunch (at my desk), or occasionally for a few minutes after work before heading home. Not everyone can do that, but it is convenient for me.

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