The Blackboard Learning System is used by Palomar
College to manage most of our online and technology enhanced classes.
This page contains links that describe the Blackboard system and directs
users to help resources.
Faculty Help with Blackboard or other
If you have questions about your Palomar email
account or eServices, or an on-campus computer or networking problem call the Information Services helpdesk at (760)
744-1150 ext. 2140. If you are having trouble with a classroom
projector or other audio-visual device, call the AV department at ext.
Information on Blackboard & Other Academic Technology
Update/version history: We
are currently at Blackboard version 9.1.30151.0, last updated
Click here to access the Blackboard
System. For those who wish to sign-up for Blackboard
training during spring 2011,
for the training schedule.
Resources: For general information
about Blackboard, check our "About
page. To keep up with new developments in
Read/subscribe to our blog
Follow us on twitter;
Join us on Facebook;
Follow our training screencasts on
To learn how to
subscribe to an RSS feed or podcast, use one of these resources:
For previous podcasts, use
Exemplary Online Teaching.
“What would a really good online course look like?”
After consulting many sources we have developed an
"Online Course Development Checklist" which is
a compilation of several instruments that have been
validated at other institutions. We believe this
checklist captures the “best practices” suggestions made
by others. It is meant to answer the question: "What
makes for an exemplary online course?" Please click the
following link to read the PDF checklist. (Right-click
and choose "Save Target As”... to save a copy locally,
if you wish).
Online Course Development Checklist [PDF -
Use this checklist in developing a
new course, or in evaluating an existing course.
The checklist is based on the following resources which
you might find useful:
the great challenges in the online arena is engaging
every online student. In the literature there is a strong consensus that increased student
engagement leads to increased student retention,
success, and positive student evaluations. You may
the following resources useful.
some specific recommendations for increasing student
engagement please click the following link to read the
PDF document. (Right-click and choose "Save Target
As”... to save a copy locally, if you wish).
Engaging The Online Learner
[PDF - 22K]
Technical Competencies and
You may find "224
Technology Competencies" [PDF - 237K]
examining this list, the competencies listed seem to be
pretty basic, but spread out over a great many areas.
Workshops offered by
Academic Technology may help you master them.
Teaching Online FAQs
Q. I want to be an online instructor. How do I get
A. Contact Lillian Payn,
phone ext. 3626.
Q. What is Blackboard?
A. Blackboard is the course management system
used by Palomar College. It is a password secured, web-based system where
a "course shell" for every course it is possible
to enroll in is created 90 days prior to the
start of each semester.
Student enrollments and instructor assignments are
handled automatically through integration with
the PeopleSoft system.
Once the student logs in, she sees the Blackboard courses
for which she is enrolled, and can enter her class area (if
the instructor has made it available) in
order to read materials, fulfill assignments, take exams,
participate in discussion boards, communicate with the
instructor and classmates, follow web links to learning
resources, and other learning activities. For more
information on Blackboard, visit our
About Blackboard .
Q. Does every course at Palomar have
a Blackboard course site associated with it?
Q. Do I have to use Blackboard?
A. No. Each class in which it
is possible for a student to enroll gets a
Blackboard "shell" created for it, but students will
only see the Blackboard courses that have been made
available by instructors. It is entirely up to
the instructor whether he/she makes the Blackboard
course available to students.
Q. I have no intention of teaching
online, or using Blackboard for my class handouts,
can I just ignore the whole thing?
A. Yes, but you may be interested
in some of the other useful things you can do
through Blackboard. For example, post class
announcements. If you are going to be absent on
a certain day when the class is scheduled to meet,
you can announce it on Blackboard, and students can
check there before driving to campus. You can
also use the email distribution lists within
Blackboard to send group emails to any/all of your
students. You might also find the Blackboard assignment feature a useful way for students to turn in
papers electronically, or use the SafeAssign
anti-plagiarism service which is implemented through
Blackboard. A feature that
students like most about Blackboard is the gradebook,
so you might also be interested in this. There
are many more features that you might wish to make
use of without actually doing any teaching with
Blackboard. If you would like a demonstration,
contact Lillian Payn,
phone ext. 3626.
Q. When are the Blackboard course
shells created for the coming semester?
A. 90 days before the beginning of
the semester. In the summer, this is ninety
days before the beginning of the 6 and 8 week
classes, not 90 days before the beginning of
"intersession 4-week classes."
Q. When are students enrolled in
A. Enrollment is automatic and is
tied to PeopleSoft. As soon as a student
officially enrolls in a course via student
eServices, they are enrolled in the corresponding
Blackboard course. An enrollment report runs
each half-hour, so there can be a gap of
as 45 minutes between official enrollment
and Blackboard enrollment.
Q. What happens if a student drops?
Are they automatically dropped from my Blackboard
Q. From the Instructor’s perspective, is Blackboard hard to
A. No. It was chosen primarily for ease of use.
Some of the tasks that can be accomplished through Blackboard, however,
can get as complex as any computing tasks.
Q. I don’t want to teach online, but I do want to place my
class handouts and other materials in a secure place on the
web. Can I still use Blackboard?
A. Yes. The majority of Blackboard courses use
Blackboard to enhance in-person instruction, rather than to
teach exclusively online. It is up to the instructor how
much, or little, of the Blackboard interface to use.
Features within Blackboard are easily enabled or disabled,
according to the instructor’s needs.
Q. Can I place copyrighted materials within Blackboard?
Yes, if you are
referring to displayed media (videos, audios,
documents displayed in class) provided you
meet the requirements of the TEACH Act of 2002.
For more on
streaming media please see our "Streaming
Media Creation Procedure." For more information on the TEACH Act, read the following
Fair use, of course, would also apply.
Academic Technology resources on copyright are
Q. Do I have to use Blackboard just to present some basic
materials to my students on the web?
A. No. We will
set up your own public web space outside of Blackboard. The
reason people use Blackboard is 1) they need a secure web
space; 2) they wish to take advantage of the tools
available in Blackboard, such as the class discussion board,
the assessment tools, the digital drop box, and so on; 3)
they want the advantage of integrated enrollment management with the
campus PeopleSoft system. A
“best practice” is to use both open, public web space to
communicate general information about yourself and the
courses you teach, and to use the “private” web space of
Blackboard to present detailed course materials.
Q. Is it easier or harder to teach online?
A. Yes. Both. It is different. You will spend far more time
preparing materials for online instruction, and a great deal
more time in communication with your students. The good news
is, you can pretty much schedule that time whenever you
Q. Is there a mentor
within my department who can help me get started
A. Perhaps. Contact
phone ext. 3626, to find out. If
not, Haydn is available to help you.
Q. Who does the technical
support for Blackboard?
A. Academic Technology.
the online classes help desk, phone ext. 2862,
or sending email to
firstname.lastname@example.org for specific
I just want to put my tests
in Blackboard, so that the
system will grade them for me and place the grades in an
electronic gradebook. Can I do that, without bothering with
the rest of the system?
A. Yes. Contact a
Blackboard system administrator via
our help system, at ext. 2862, or
Q. My students are having trouble logging in to Blackboard.
Who should they call?
A. The online help desk.
It is best to use our help
ticketing system, or they can phone ext.
2862, or email
uses Active Directory authentication, which
means that a student must set a password in
eServices BEFORE logging in to Blackboard.
Most student login problems are solved by the
student going to student eServices and setting
or re-setting their password.
Q. Does Blackboard support the Apple "Safari" browser?
for a list of browsers and operating systems supported by Blackboard.
Q. Do students have to have a computer and access to
Internet to take an online class?
A. We strongly recommend that they have these things, but
strictly speaking, it is possible to use the public
computers in the
Academic Technology labs, or other public
computers, to take an online course without personally
owning a computer. It would be very difficult, however, to
always insure timely access to these resources.
We have developed a web site titled "Are
you ready to be an online student?" which
details the equipment, and skills that make for
a successful online student. Consider
directing your students there as a "reality
check" near the beginning of an online course.
Q. What sort of training do you provide for teaching online?
A. We offer
workshops in the use of
Blackboard. Depending on what you want to do. You may want
to enroll in only the “Blackboard
Essentials” class, or take all of them.
for our training schedule. Contact Lillian Payn,
email@example.com, phone ext.
3626 for details.
Q. How long do Blackboard courses
remain on the system?
A. We keep the previous three semesters,
the current semester, and one future semester (as
soon as its courses are created) on the system.
We prune courses from the Blackboard system on a
rolling year basis. For example, at the end of
the fall semester, we remove the previous fall
Q. How long do students have access
to a Blackboard class after a semester ends?
A. Two weeks.
Q. Can I audio record my lectures
and place them in my Blackboard class?
A. Yes. If you do not
already have a digital audio recorder, we recommend the Olympus
WS-400-series recorders, which record in standard WMA format. Adding
an audio recordings to Blackboard is very simple.
If you wish to include shorter audio messages within Blackboard--not
entire lectures--we recommend use of the built-in Wimba voice authoring
Q. What about plagiarism.
Does Blackboard have any originality checking
A. Yes. We
use the system built-in to Blackboard called "SafeAssign." It is
easy to create a Safe Assignment in Blackboard that will check student
papers for originality and report back to the professor.
SafeAssign can be optionally configured to allow students to submit
draft versions of their papers to check for originality, or for direct
submissions from the instructor.
Q. How do I get my Blackboard
course contents copied from one semester to the
A. Faculty members are responsible
for doing this for themselves using the Blackboard
course copy feature. Remember that your new
semester courses will not be available to students
until you make them available.
Q. My text book publisher has a
Blackboard course cartridge. Will you load it
A. We will be glad to assist you,
but the process is so simple we encourage you to do
it yourself. Call ext. 2862 for instructions.
Q. Can I meet synchronously with my
A. Yes. We have deployed a
product through Blackboard called Elluminate that
permits online synchronous (with the ability to
archive for later viewing) meetings.
Elluminate has great whiteboard and chat features,
supports voice-over-IP audio and streamed video, has
built-in student polling, and permits desktop and
Q. Can I hold "virtual office
A. Yes, using the Elluminate
product mentioned above. Elluminate permits
creating an online meeting space that combines the
students from all of your classes. It also
permits scheduling the online, synchronous meeting
on a repetitive basis and and notifies you when a
student enters the meeting room.