Chances are, if you’ve used Blackboard CE 8 at UALR to communicate and share resources with a committee or organization, then you’ve dealt with the many inconveniences that come with adapting a course shell for your particular use.
That’s why we will be introducing Blackboard Community Engagement to UALR over the next year. Integrated into our new Blackboard 9.1 system, Community Engagement (“Community” for short) allows tremendous flexibility for our faculty, students and staff to engage in extended online collaboration outside of the traditional semester-based, online course environment.
Community brings groups from across courses, departments, and committees together into one organization.
There are many ways to set up a group within Community, depending on the needs of your organization. To help you get a better idea of what is possible, here are some examples:
Custom modules for broadcast communication
Push basic information to groups of people by creating a module for your organization. Modules display content specific to your organization on the “My Blackboard” tab of your users page. Modules let you easily share content to targeted groups.
For example, STaR and Blackboard Student Support currently use modules to broadcast need-to-know information under the Bb Support tab. The modules are set up to display information specific to users roles, so information broadcast to Blackboard faculty is not displayed to students.
Manage virtual organizations for collaboration and discussions
For more complex needs, Community can be used with a organization shell to provide a collaborative space for users to communicate and share content.
Organization shells have all of the same tools used in a 9.1 Blackboard course.
The Faculty Support course is a good example of this type of community, where faculty have access to helpful downloads, manuals, and video tutorials conveniently located on the MyBlackboard page with the rest of their online courses.
Community enrollment made simple
Community also provides expanded enrollment options that help Organization leaders manage who has access to their communities.
Manual enrollment allows organization leaders to select and remove individuals or groups of users who need access to their content. Organization leaders also have an option to allow users to self-enroll to the content made available.
These enrollment options grant more control over the content provided to organizations as well as more control over who can access the spaces.
If you’re interested in creating a community space on Blackboard Learn 9.1, check with us
next semester, when we’ll begin a Community pilot.