Blackboard FAQs

On this page you will find some frequently asked questions regarding Blackboard.

Questions List

  1. Should I choose "Force Completion" when setting up options for a test?
  2. Why does the inline grading not save my comments or annotations?
  3. When should I use Discussion Board and when to use Blog?
  4. What is the difference between the two blog types, namely, "Individual to All Students" and "Course"?

Questions & Answers


Should I choose "Force Completion" when setting up options for a test?

We suggest that you do not check “Force completion” checkbox. In this case, if a student is kicked out of the test by accident, he or she can get back in and continue the test. If it is a timed test, students cannot gain any more time than what you set up. For example, you have a test timed for 30 minutes. If a student clicks the wrong button and is logged out of the Blackboard when the timer is at 10 minutes and the student spends 1 minute to log back in, now the timer for this test would show 11 minutes and will continue counting. The timer will not re-start from the beginning. The answer choices the student already picked before the instance are still there. The student can continue completing his or her test.
If you choose “Force Completion” for a test, the students cannot go back to their test and continue working on it after they are kicked out by accident in the middle of the test. Students may ask you to clear their attempt so that they can complete the test. After you clear their attempt, they have to start the test from the beginning. When you clear an attempt, you remove the answers the student have completed in that attempt.

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Why does the inline grading not save my comments or annotations?

Blackboard inline grading tool uses Crocodoc program. This program will save the annotation you added to an assignment instantly as long as the time you spend on that page continuously is not excess 60 minutes. The periodic auto-save of Crocodoc will timeout after 60 minutes. If you stay on one inline grading page for over 60 minutes, comments, drawing and highlighted text you added on that page after 60 minutes will not be saved.

If you do need more than 60 minutes to review an assignment using the inline grading tool, click somewhere else on your course site and then come back to this assignment again. The timer will re-start. It will save your annotation within the next 60 minutes.

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When should I use Discussion Board and when to use Blog?

Blackboard has both Discussion Board and Blog tools. They enable students to present their ideas, see their peers’ perspectives, and have richer and deeper dialogue about the concepts or topics studied in the course. Both tools could support collaborative learning. However, when to use Discussion Board? When to use Blog?  We suggest that you use Discussion Board if the learning goal is to build ideas upon each other, or debate on some important questions about a concept or topic. On the Discussion Board students can voice their opinions, listen to their peer’s ideas and add, comment or debate on different thoughts from one another. On the other hand, Blog may be a better activity when the learning goal is to reflect on concepts or ideas. It gives students a space to write about their understanding and questions related to a concept or topic. They and faculty can interact with one another through the Comment link under each blog entry. From technical point of view a discussion forum is visually designed around a topic while a blog is designed around each individual student. Here is an article that provides more guidance on how to choose different interactive tools in Blackboard.

That being said, there is no hard rule as to which tool should be used in your course. After trying both, for example, use Discussion Board in one semester and blog in another, you may come up with your own creative ways to use these tools.

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What is the difference between the two blog types, namely, "Individual to All Students" and "Course"?

When creating a blog in Blackboard, you need to pick up a blog type in the settings. What is the difference between “Individual to All Students” and “Course” blog types?

The difference is solely based on the presentation of the blog entries. If you choose “Individual to All Students”, the blog entries will be displayed for one student at a time. If you or a student clicks on a student’s name on the right-hand “Blog Details” panel, all blog entries created by the student will be displayed. If you choose “Course” for the blog type, all students’ blog entries will be displayed in the reverse chronological order. You can click on a student’s name on the right “Blog Details” panel to see the entries posted by one student. But by default all students’ entries will be posted together based on the timeline.

If you’d like to read the blog entries based on each individual student, choose the former. If you want to read the blog entries based on time, choose the latter. If you would like to read in both ways, choose the latter.

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