Fixing incorrect menu colors from the December 2016 update

The Blackboard update applied in late December contained a bug which may alter the colors of course menus making them difficult to read. If one or more of your courses is incorrectly showing the menu in green/blue the following steps will restore the default menu colors.

Note: These steps can only be performed by an instructor. If you are a student in a course affected by this glitch please contact your instructor.

1. Open the affected course.


2. Make sure Edit Mode is On. This setting is found in the upper right corner of the screen.


3. Hover over on the multi-colored Course Theme icon and click on Default.


4. Click the Student Preview button and wait a moment for Student Preview mode to start up.


5. Click the “Exit Preview” button in the yellow bar at the top of the screen.


6. Choose “Delete the preview user and all data” and click the Continue button.


Your course menu has now been restored to the default colors. Sorry for the inconvenience caused by this Blackboard bug.


Motivating students through course gamification and blackboard tools

Presentation Resources

Presentation slides (PDF)

Sample Syllabus / Schedule (PDF)


Gameful Pedaogy by GradeCraft

Boskic, N., & Hu, S. (2015). Gamification in Higher Education: How we Changed Roles. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 1741-748.

Cózar-Gutiérrez, R., & Sáez-López, J. (2016). Game-based learning and gamification in initial teacher training in the social sciences: an experiment with MinecraftEdu. International Journal Of Educational Technology In Higher Education, 13(1), 1-11. doi:10.1186/s41239-016-0003-4

Erenli, K. (2013). The Impact of Gamification. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning, 15-21. doi:10.3991/ijet.v8iS1.2320

Faiella, F., & Ricciardi, M. (2015). GAMIFICATION AND LEARNING: A REVIEW OF ISSUES AND RESEARCH. Journal Of E-Learning & Knowledge Society, 11(3), 13-21.

Rule, R. (2016). Workshop- Gamification: a Hands-on Session to Explore this Motivational Technique.

Embedding Facebook videos

Facebook has been lauded as a new mainstream media outlet. If you find a Facebook video you’d like to share with your class, you can embed it into your Blackboard course site so your students don’t have to visit Facebook to view it.

A. Getting the embed code from Facebook

1. Click the down arrow menu in the upper right of the Facebook post and choose “</> Embed.”

Note: If Embed is not an option, click on the “video” or “live video” link at the top of the post to open a new page then try again. 

2. Determine if you want to include the entire post or just the video.  If you want to include the entire post, check the “Include full post” box in the upper right.

3. Click into the box starting with “<iframe>” to select all the text. Use Ctrl-C (Command-C on Mac) or right-click and choose “Copy.”

B. Adding the code to your course site

1. Open a content area go to the “Build Content” menu. Select the “Item” type.

2. Enter a name for the video.

3. In the Text box, click on the “HTML” button on the third row of the toolbar.

Note: If you only see one row of toolbar icons, click the “two down arrows” icon on the right side of the toolbar.

4. Paste the code using Ctrl-V (Command-V on Mac) or right-click “Paste.”

5. Submit the page.

That’s it! Your students will now be able to watch the video right from Blackboard.

Disabling IE Compatibility Mode

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, included in Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, does not work properly with Blackboard if “Compatibility Mode” is enabled. When this feature is enabled you will see a message “Module information is temporarily unavailable. Please reload the page.”

We strongly recommend accessing Blackboard using either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, but if you only have access to Internet Explorer and cannot install new software, the following instructions will allow you to access Blackboard using IE.

1. Click on the settings icon (gear) in the upper right corner of your Internet Explorer window and select “Compatibility View settings.”gif5

2. In the window that opens, find “” and/or “” in the list, highlight the item, and click Remove. Make sure no sites ending in ”” appear on the list. When you’re done, click “Close” and the page will refresh.


That’s it! Your My Courses list should have loaded when you closed the Compatibility View Settings window.

Journals, Blogs, Discussion, Wikis … What’s the difference? (And which to use when)

Blackboard’s suite of asynchronous social tools — Journals, Blogs, Discussion, and Wikis — provide students with different methods of sharing and recording their thoughts. Each tool functions very differently, and it’s important you match the right tool to the right assignment.



Journal posts are generally only visible to the student who made them (and to the course faculty).


Journals are good for self-reflection exercises, stream of consciousness free-writing, and personal activity logs.



Blog posts are generally made by one student (who may be the representative of a group, depending on the assignment), then read by the rest of the class. The readership may then comment on the blog post, but blogs are generally not designed for more back-and-forth interaction.


In his Chronicle of Higher Education article A Better Blogging Assignment, Mark Sample proposes the following assignment:

Each student will contribute to the weekly class blog, posting an approximately 200-300 word response to the week’s readings. There are a number of ways to approach these open-ended posts: consider the reading in relation to its historical or theoretical context; write about an aspect of the day’s reading that you don’t understand, or something that jars you; formulate an insightful question or two about the reading and then attempt to answer your own questions; or respond to another student’s post, building upon it, disagreeing with it, or re-thinking it.



Online discussion is the most interactive of these tools. In an online discussion, students post, then read and reply other students’ posts.


Discussion is a good place to get students interacting. While the name suggests discussion assignments mimic in-class discussion, discussion board posts are really more like mini-essays (how mini depending on the parameters you set). Students can then provide feedback (reply), both to the initial post and to other replies. Discussion is an excellent tool for getting students interacting with each other, as opposed to a blog, where the communication is largely one way (writer to audience, with minimal audience commentary).



Students can use a Wiki to collaboratively create a document or set of pages. Change history is logged, so you can look back and see which students made what changes

Wikis are an extremely versatile tool can be used at any time you want students to work together to develop a single document. A simple wiki assignment is the scavenger hunt (sometimes less thrillingly called a lit review): Students are tasked with collecting resources on a given topic — journal articles, books, web sites — then post their findings to a wiki. At the end of the project, the students will have collaboratively produced a single document with a wide array of helpful resources on your given topic.

Student groups may also use a wiki to collaboratively create learning modules modules for their peers.

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