A Blackboard for the Online Classroom

If you're new to taking online classes, you will find that Colorado Christian University's College of Adult and Graduate studies offers an easy-to-use learning management system called Blackboard.

Because online learning takes advantage of information from a variety of sources, Blackboard employs an intuitive interface to help you manage dynamic content, including text, images and videos. This rich media experience should provide you with a more-rounded learning environment.

Your Own Dashboard

When you log in to the Blackboard, you will see the Student Dashboard as your homepage. Each student has his or her own personalized Dashboard, which is comprised of different boxes that are known as modules. The modules organize the information and links from each of the courses in which you are enrolled.

For example, you'll see a list of announcements for your classes at the top of the page, along with your own calendar, which is handy for keeping you current on all your upcoming tasks. Your "To Do" module enables you to see at a glance what items are past due and what items are due today, tomorrow, this week and farther into the future to help you prioritize your work.

Course Work

Every class has its own Course Dashboard as well. You'll see a menu, which you use to navigate the course's basic contents, including paper due dates, grades, faculty contact information and the course syllabus.

Anyone who is accustomed to using email and social media networks should feel right at home with Blackboard, as it enables you to engage in online discussions with your fellow classmates. You can pose questions to your instructors, make comments on what students say and respond to ideas that people raise in class. Your instructor will typically post discussion topics in a format that is similar to the Timeline on Facebook.

Blackboard enables you to quickly find all the assignments for your courses, with their due dates and instructions on how to finish them. Once you complete an assignment, it's a snap to upload the file for submission to your instructor.

For busy students on the go, Blackboard also comes with a mobile app that you can use to receive updates, watch video presentations and get notifications on your smartphone.

One benefit of this online learning management system is that if you get in trouble in class, your instructor won't keep you after school to scrub the blackboard.

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