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  FIRST YEARS > FAQs Library > Guided Tour: Highlights of a Blackboard Course
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Important note: The current course management system for FIRST YEARS, i.e. Blackboard,  is to be phased out. Check back in June, 2012, for a revision of our tutorials.
This Blackboard "short course" highlights some of the key areas of the FIRST YEARS courses. All the certificate courses have the same general layout, so even your first look at a new course seems comfortably familiar. 

Once you logon to Blackboard and scroll down to select your course, you see a series of blue buttons along the left of your screen. Just what are those blue buttons? 

Tell me more about Blackboard's main navigation buttons

Announcements This is the area of the site where the instructor posts special information. This can be anything from important reminders to helpful hints. You need to logon to Blackboard and read the Announcements at least every other day.
Course Information Course Information provides your course overview, the "big picture." The actual  sections you see in a particular course may vary, depending on the needs of the course itself. But, in general, information about your course materials, objectives, grading policies -- all the typical syllabus information appears here.
Staff Information At Staff Information, you find information about your instructor, including phone and FAX numbers, and mailing and email addresses. 
Assignments Clicking Assignments shows you a list of all the work that you are to turn in for a grade and the dates that these assignments are due. It is here that you will also find links to your online tests.
Course Documents  In Course Documents, you find your  "general" course documents and your Course Evaluation. 
Communications The Communication button gives you access to email or to the discussion boards. You can send email from Blackboard, but you cannot receive email in Blackboard. To read your mail, you logon to your mailing program as usual.
Discussion Boards The quickest route to the threaded discussion forums is to click the Discussion Board button.
Student Tools Here's your toolbox where, for example, you can check your grades.
Tell me more about my assignments.
Assignments in Blackboard.Clicking the Assignments button takes you to your lessons, the "learning units." Each unit is contained in a "folder" and highlighted as a link in red, not to frighten you off, but to indicate that the assignments within the folder will be graded. So, read what is within carefully. Once you click the folder link, another page appears which details the requirements for that particular unit. The actual requirements vary, of course, with the unit; but you can expect the usual types of traditional activities -- readings, lecture notes, online activities, individual or group exercises, research projects, quizzes, class discussions -- all, in some way, handled electronically.

Tell me more about discussion boards.
Electronic discussion boards, also known as threaded discussion forums, allow you to share your ideas, experiences, and research with your classmates and instructor. In the forums, you listen by reading and speak by writing. The full Blackboard tutorial allows you to practice using the boards.

To end our tour ... Remember, these are only highlights of a Blackboard course. Each instructor develops new ideas, applying Blackboard's features in creative ways that make each online learning activity unique.  The best way to experience this is to explore the full tutorial, then take a FIRST YEARS online course yourself!

Bobby WorldWide Approved 508
Alexander Graham Bell Association | UNC-CH Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences

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