Week 2 – Course Calendar – Week of 1/19/15

Last week we talked about the Date Management Tool, which seemed fitting at the beginning of the semester. This week we will continue along the lines of dates, as this is the time when most faculty are working to get courses and dates set up for the semester.

In Blackboard, there is a Course Calendar for every course within it, and you can easily look at the calendar for every course you are involved in at once, you can even import these calendars into your Outlook calendar, if you choose. Taking advantage of these calendars can be a great benefit to your students, as they will be able to easily check on their assignments and requirements for all of their courses in one place. When you set up dates for assignments, tests, discussions, journals, announcements, etc., in Blackboard, you are automatically populating the calendar. There are no extra steps required!!

As the semester wears on, inevitably, due dates will change. It can be a pain to go into assignments to change these dates, and this is where the calendar can really be helpful to you. Did you know the calendar has a drag and drop feature? It’s true! If you have an assignment due on one day and it changes, you can simply drag that assignment to the new day and the date will change within the assignment. How easy is that? Need to change something about the assignment? You can do that from the calendar too!

Ok, I’ve made all of these promises, let me give you some more specifics. First of all, in order for this to work, you do need to set up dates in your course. The calendar will show Start, Due, and End dates for anything that is gradable as well as Announcements you create.

To access your calendar, you need to be in Blackboard, but not necessarily in a course. At the top left of any Blackboard page, you will see your name and an arrow pointing down.  If you click on the arrow, you will see several choices, including an icon of a calendar. Click on this icon.

In the light gray section you can choose a daily, weekly or monthly view, the date you want to view, and which Blackboard Course calendar(s) you’d like to view. Each calendar is color coded, and you can change the colors by clicking the dark gray triangle in the bottom right corner of that calendar’s name, if you choose.

The right side shows the calendar. If you want to change the due date or time, you can simply find the item on the calendar and drag it to the new date. If you need to change the time – change to the weekly or daily view to have more control over specific times. You can also double-click the item to make bigger changes. Once you have the calendar item open, you can change the name of the item all together (yes it will change the item in the course as well), and make bigger changes to the date. If you need to make changes to the actual assignment, you will see a link “Edit this . . .” If you click this link, it will take you to the item within the course and out of the calendar.

You can add events to the course calendar, but they will only be added to the calendar. This is not a way to add assignments to your course. One possible suggestion for adding events to your course would be to add your office hours, so they are easily available to your students.

If you would like, you can export your Blackboard Calendars to your Outlook calendar using the link at the bottom of the light gray section. Unfortunately you cannot import your Outlook calendar to Blackboard.

Plan to attend the profession development session “Becoming Date Friendly in Blackboard” on using the Calendar and the Date Management Tool on February 2nd from 2-3 pm in Speight 225. To attend, register today using Cornerstone!

I hope this information about the Blackboard Calendar was useful to you. If you run into questions or problems throughout the semester with Blackboard, please take advantage of the COE Helpdesk.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.