CSCC Digital Education & Instructional Services


Blackboard is the primary tool the College uses for online learning. Blackboard is our Learning Management System, and all course sections have their own Blackboard course shell. It's critical that you use Blackboard to provide course materials, course information, announcements, grades, assignments, assessments and other information that you want your students to access.

Quick Start Tutorial Videos


This video provides a quick overview of the Learning Management System used by Columbus State.

Accessing Blackboard

This video explains how to log into Blackboard.

Post A Syllabus

This video offers directions about how to insert your Syllabus in the course.

Create Announcement

This video explains how to create (and send via email) an Announcement to your students.

Course Materials

This video explains how to create folders and items in your course so that you can insert content (files, powerpoints, etc.)

Creating Assignments

Introduction to using Blackbaord Assignments in your Blackboard course shell.

Creating Tests

View the steps for creating a basic test in your Blackboard course shell.

Grade Center

This video will cover the very basics of using Grade Center.

Discussion Boards

View the basics of creating Discussion Boards in your course shell.

Quick Help Lookup by Topic

If you are not finding the information you need on this page, please search for Blackboard help using the DEIS Knowledge Base, or please contact the Faculty Assistance Center at

What Are Blackboard Announcements?

Announcements is a feature located in all CSCC Blackboard courses that allows instructors the ability to quickly update students with course related information. Instructors have the ability to post, edit, and delete course announcements.

Here are some examples of what instructors use the Announcements tool for:

  • Update students to changes made to the course syllabus/calendar/etc.
  • Remind students when homework/assignments are due.
  • Reminds students of an upcoming test, midterm, or final.
  • Update students on any corrections/changes to course materials that may rise during the duration of a course.
  • Remind students of school closings, holidays, and etc.

Blackboard’s Announcements tool also allows instructors the ability to send an email copy of course announcements to students in their course. Having the ability to send course announcements to students via email helps keep students informed that may have not logged into Blackboard on a given day.

Announcement Tips

Always have a welcome announcement for your course shell. A welcome announcement should contain the following information:

  • Subject line: Use a friendly welcoming title that contains the course name.
  • Message ideas:
    • Welcome the students to the course.
    • Introduce yourself to your students.
    • Let them know when the first day of class will be.
    • Let students know where important class related information is located in your course shell.
    • Direct students on what they should do first to get started with your course.

Take advantage of Blackboard’s ability to schedule your announcements to post automatically based on time and date.

  • Example: At the beginning of the quarter, go ahead and type up separate reminder announcements for each of your exams. Use the options area to set up times and dates for each announcement to appear later in the quarter.

Blackboard is not able to send announcement emails that have the date restriction option applied.

Help Topic Video PDF Webpage
How to Add (Post) Course Announcement View View View
How to Edit and Delete Announcements View
How to Reorder Announcements View
How to Make Announcements "Stay" On The Main Page View

Standard Blackboard Course Navigation

Blackboard standard navigation buttons (approved by the Office of Academic Affairs, OAA) recommends a common course navigation structure consisting of a series of navigational buttons that provide category headings for course content. All courses are required to use the standard navigation buttons by spring semester 2021.

How to Use the Standard Course Navigation

Help Topic Video PDF Webpage
CSCC Standard Course Navigation Overview View
Blackboard Menu
Assure Edit Mode is ON View
Creating Content Areas and Tool Links View
Content Areas
How to Create, Edit and Delete Folders View
Supported File Types View
Using the Editor View
How to add a content item into a folder View
Add Files, Images, Audio and Video View

The syllabus should reside in the "Course Information" section of the Blackboard course.

How to add a course syllabus:

  1. Go to the Course Information content area.
  2. Hover over Build Content and select Item.
  3. On the Create Item page, type a Name – “Course Syllabus”
  4. Instructions may be typed into the text box.
  5. Add syllabus in the Attachments section. To upload a file from the computer, click Browse My Computer.
  6. Select the Options:
  7. Click Yes to Permit Users to View this Content.
  8. Click Yes to Track Number of Views.
  9. Click Submit.

How to update or replace a course syllabus

The Course Calendar also resides in the "Course Information" section of the Blackboard course.

Help Topic Video PDF Webpage
How to Update/Add Blackboard Course Syllabus View
How to Add the Blackboard Course Calendar View
How to Create a Calendar Event View
How to Edit or Delete a Calendar Event View

Discussion boards are an asynchronous way to engage students with course content and encourage interaction that builds community between students.

Discussion boards in Blackboard are used to:

  • Get to know your students and for them to get to know each other
  • Interact with individual students
  • Keep students actively engaged
  • Allow space for student group work

Online discussion boards are often considered more effective for learning than in-class discussion because:

  • Well-developed discussion boards promote critical thinking
  • Every student is required to participate
  • Every student is required to interact with a classmate
  • Students have more time to present their ideas and answers in a thoughtful manner
  • Discussions are not dominated by the loudest or most extroverted students
  • Students are not intimidated by speaking out publicly

Discussion boards are most effective when:

  • Participation is required
  • Used as graded assignments
  • Discussions are structured
  • There is a required minimum word count
  • Students are required to respond to at least one classmate’s posting (also with a minimum word count)
  • Students are required to use proper spelling, grammar, and cite sources
  • Forums questions and scenarios require learners to use their own experiences and relate the discussion to course objectives
  • The instructor provides an example of a typical discussion board post
Help Topic Video PDF Webpage
Forums and Threads Defined View
How to Create Discussion Boards View
Create Discussion Board Forums in the Original Course View View
Create Discussions View
Create Forums View
Grade Discussions View

If you can't find your quick answer here, please check with the following two available resources:

What is Grade Center?

The Blackboard Grade Center is where grades for all assessments in CSCC courses are updated and housed for faculty and for students. Instructors can see a full Grade Center and manage it. Students only see a page with a list of assessments and their own grades.

NOTE: All College faculty are required to use the Grade Center in Blackboard. According to a resolution approved by Academic Council:

"In order to increase student success, the OAA Digital Learning Committee recommends that all Columbus State faculty employ the Blackboard Grade Center for students in a manner which allows students to determine, at any point during the term, their current grade in the course (e.g. a running average; running total, weighted or unweighted; other up-to-date benchmark that allows a student to compare their performance to that course’s overall standards of assessment)."

The Blackboard Grade Center is designed to resemble a gradebook. It is organized with the student roster and each row includes student grades. Grade Center columns include each assignment or test. The Total column calculates grades. The elements of the Grade Center can be customized by the instructor.

Basic Grade Center Best Practices:

  • Setup your course's Grade Center before the starting date of the course. The FAC can help:
  • Various Blackboard tools and assessments will automatically added as Grade Center columns:
    • Assignments
    • Quizzes and tests
    • Discussion Boards
    • Blogs
    • Journals
Help Topic Video PDF Webpage
Basics and Getting Started
How to use the Grade Center video View
Introduction to Grade Center View
Navigating the Full Grade Center View
How your students access their grades View
How to Setup Your Grade Center
Grade Columns View
Creating a Grade Center Column View
Creating a Weighted Column View
Editing Grade Center Column Information View
Entering Grades
Entering or Changing a Grade View
Grading an Assignment View
Creating an Extra Credit Column View
Organizing & Managing Grade Center
Organize Grade Data View
Downloading the Grade Center View

If you can't find your quick answer here, please check with the following two available resources:

Our course design development process is an integral part of achieving the goal faculty leaders set to increase student success. As such, it will follow the same instructional design process that the college has adopted for all digital content where you will be paired with an instructional design team devoted to producing digital content according to your specifications.

Research and Theories

The evolution of mobile technologies provides for the opportunity to increase student engagement, retention and completion in targeted courses and programs.

Previously agreed upon departmentally defined standards for digitized content at Columbus State involve the creation of engaging and dynamic online learning experiences that draw from four learning theories:

  • Competency Based Learning
    Applying course concepts to real life scenarios to provide evidence of student knowledge and competencies in their chosen field (Lumina Foundation, 2015)
  • Mastery Learning
    Interactive academic games, assessments and exercises where students must master course concepts at their own pace before moving on (Guskey, 2009)
  • Active and Collaborative Learning (ACL)
    A pedagogical approach that promotes a high level of student engagement with course content while the students work individually and collaboratively on course goals/outcomes. An ACL experience contains the following hallmarks: student to student interactions, positive interdependence (shared goal and resources), individual accountability (assigned roles, specific tasks and timelines), group processing (discussion and synthesis), and social skills (encouraging, reflecting, and active listening) (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 2006).
  • Digital Storytelling
    Creating a meaningful and relevant story as a backdrop to content presentations to enable students link course concepts to familiar scenarios (Bryan, Brown, 2005)

Benefits to Students:

  • Content engages the learner in multiple instructional methods, learning levels and multiple cognitive thinking types
  • Students take responsibility for their own learning
  • Students work at their own pace
  • Allows students to practice what they are studying
  • Provides simulations
  • Remediation helps students identify what they have learned well and what they have not learned well

The Process

Digital Education & Instructional Services (DEIS) instructional designers help faculty digitize content, but each faculty designer is the architect of the design process. Faculty are assigned to work with an Instructional Design team in digitizing the most complex portions of the course.

Multimedia Digitized Assets:

The following types of assets combine into a digitized course:

  • Learning objects (LOs): dynamic, motion-driven videos that include comprehensive educational lessons that address challenge points in the course. LOs contain auto-graded assessments and lesson review information as well.
  • Course enhancements (CEs): interactive digital activities (widgets) that reinforce learning through immersive content. Examples include user-driven simulations, academic games, digital flash cards, and competency-based activities. They are typically auto-graded assessments that include responsive remediation.
  • Video introductions (VIs): motion-driven presentations in which faculty members provide personalized introductory overviews for every unit/chapter of the course.
  • eBooks: Free textbook within Blackboard that can include interactive videos, images, quizzes and a glossary to engage students that can display on any device.

Contact for more information.