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HOW TO: USE BLOGS IN YOUR BLACKBOARD COURSE Journal LX is a Blackboard plugin which is available on the UC Riverside installation of Blackboard. It allows you to create a “rich media journal” as part of your Blackboard course. Journals can be created for use by individual students, for student work groups and for the entire class and instructor. These journals can contain text, images, links, and some mathematical symbols. Entries in journals can have comments, a feature which can be controlled by the instructor. Journals are only accessible to course participants -- they can’t be seen by anyone else unless the instructor turns on guest access. Since these journals are part of the course, they will not be accessible to participants once the course ends. The journal may be best for course-related activities, for example keeping an individual or group learning journal or using the journal as a place to collaborate on a project. If you expect students to continue using the journal beyond the end of the course, it may be better to use a weblog on a website outside the course. The course weblog (or journal), which can be used by the instructor and students, is available through the Control Panel. Under Course Tools, click on Configure Blog Tool. You can set the options for whether or not students can create entries or comment on the course blog. If you add the course blog to the course menu and use it as a place for students to reflect on what they’ve learned or report on their work, it will be quickly accessible to everyone in the course. Another way you can incorporate weblogs into your course is by using the External Link feature. If you have an existing blog, for example one on the Blogger platform, you can incorporate the blog into your course by

Weblog from www.blogger.com embedded in course menu using the External Link feature. By making it the first menu item, this is what students will see when they access the course area.

setting up an external link which will display your blog within your Blackboard course. Students can interact with your blog, leave comments, or create new entries depending on what permissions you have assigned them. Blogs used inside your course in this way are still accessible to anyone on the Internet, and will continue to exist once your course ends. By creating an external link to a blog, you can include the blog as part of your course content, or even use it as the first thing students see when they visit the course home page. How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


STEP BY STEP: Set up and use student journals

1. Add the blog

Locate the iLearn site using your web browser -http://ilearn.ucr.edu. Scroll down to University Extension and Community Users and click the Login button.

2. Fill in the blog form

Enter your Username and password. The password is case sensitive and when you enter it, you will only see asterisks instead of letters or numbers: *******.

3. Who’s blogging?

If your Username or password are not entered correctly, you will see an error message. Try again, making sure that you enter any lower case or upper case letters in your password properly. If you continue to have trouble logging in, call 951-8273555 for help.

How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


4. Choose your options

Decide who can view the blog, who can comment on entries, and when the blog will be available.

5. Add to Gradebook

If the blog entries will be graded, you can assign a name, category and the number of points to the blog assignment. If you don’t plan to grade the blog, leave this unchecked.

6. Save your work

Click OK to save your settings for the blog.You can come back later and modify them if necessary. The blog should show up in the course content area where you created it.

How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


STEP BY STEP: Create an entry and comment in a student journal

1. Create an entry

Navigate to the blog, then click new entry to add an item. Most recent entries will show up at the top of the blog.

2. Write

Add a title, then write your entry in the text box. A variety of formatting options are available.

3. Link

You can add links to another entry in the blog or to a web page. Select the text in your entry for the link, then click the Link icon in the tool palette (it looks like 3 chain links). Select the blog entry or add the URL for a website, then click Insert.

How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


4. Add an image

Click in your entry where you’d like to insert an image, then click the Image icon (picture of a tree). Locate the image on your computer or storage device, then click Open, then Upload, and finally Insert.

5. Customize your image

Right click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) on the image to add a link or customize the appearance or add a description.

6. Admire

Save your work, then check the appearance of your links and image. If you need to make changes, click the edit link. If you want to remove the entry and start over, click delete.

How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


Extra: Add a Comment

Click the Comments link at the bottom of a blog entry to add a comment. Write your comment, then click Add Comment to save it. Be nice! The number in parentheses next to Comments should increase by 1. Save your work, then check the appearance of your links and image. If you need to make changes, click the edit link. If you want to remove the entry and start over, click delete.

Tip You can see the name of any of the editing tools in the blog text editor by moving your mouse over the tool icon.

How To: Set up and use a blog - Instructor


Using Blogs in Blackboard