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Library / Blackboard Integration: Software and Tools

Software, Tools and Tips

Software, Tools, and Suggestions for Using Them

A note: Don't feel you have to do it all at once. You can start small, adding a few modules each semester and choosing to learn software over time. It helps if students are assigned the modules as part of the course requirements to ensure they learn the material.

Camtasia (Techsmith) or Captivate (Adobe) video software is used to create very short library instruction tutorials within Blackboard. You can also use them to introduce yourself to students online so they put a face with the name. It is best to make tutorials no more than 2-3 minutes in length.  Pick a specific thing that you want to cover.  Don't try to replicate a library instruction class in a video. 

Scaffold video lessons across the semester to build knowledge gradually, starting from simple to more sophisticated. These videos can be posted as links in Blackboard and embedded in your library website, YouTube, or if you are using Techsmith's Camtasia, a Screencast account. Or they can be embedded directly into Blackboard. You can add a test in Blackboard after each video to assess learning.  

Softchalk Create or Softchalk Cloud software enables educators who don't have sophisticated web authoring skills to create digital lessons by combining original materials with interactive learning content and rich media, including a variety of interactive assessment tests and games. These original lessons are uploaded to Blackboard in the Content area by choosing the Build Content - Content Package (SCORM) feature. Your college's online learning / Blackboard administrator will know if your college owns this software.

VoiceThread software (a cloud-based subscription) allows students, professor, and librarian to add asynchronous audio comments or text comments to course material (visual or text), enhancing interactivity in Blackboard. It enhances class discussion and personal feedback in online course environments. The professor can moderate which voice threads are private and which can be accessed by everyone. Your online learning / Blackboard administrator will know if your college has subscribed to this service.

Blogs can be posted about any topic in the weekly folders of the course. The first blog should be directional: where to get help at the library.  Be very specific.  Don't try to explain too many things at once; the topic is linked to the material being covered that week in the course.

Discussion Board (Blackboard) is a very useful way to connect directly with students and address any confusion they have about research or documentation. It is best to limit discussion board sessions to a particular week and have a beginning and end date for the research discussion board, which can be checked once a day and answered, to limit the time you have spend checking it.

When all present questions have been answered, send an email to the group letting them know that the answers have been posted on the Discussion Board. Students who didn't post also have a chance to benefit from the answers to others' questions. The questions help you figure out what should be explained more completely in a blog or a general email.

Individual Consultationsin person or by telephone, are a good way to connect with students who need extra help outside of the Blackboard environment. Students who are struggling can have their questions answered more completely. Students who want specific research advice can connect directly with the librarian. In a blog post or video about research help at the library, encourage students to reach out for help, particularly during the period before research assignments are due. 

Library links can be placed within in your Blackboard course to route students to the library website. 

Assessment: In collaboration with the professor, assessment tests and exit surveys assess the efficacy of the service. An assessment of student portfolios, using information literacy rubrics, is also very informative in terms of improving the collaboration.

Any questions about these methods can be sent to Lane Glisson, lglisson@bmcc.cuny.edu.  I will be happy to talk with you about partnering with faculty in Blackboard.