Q. My students cannot see the Journal/Blog/Discussion board I created on NILE (Blackboard Learn)
There are many ways to create interactive tools for your students to use on your NILE sites. It is important to ensure that your students can access them in the best way that suits your NILE module and the activities you have set. Some general guidance on this topic is below, together with some step-by-step instructions for the most common use cases.
The main concept to remember here is that your view as an instructor on a NILE site will differ to that of your students'. For example, with popular tools like Blogs, Discussion Boards, Journals and Collaborate Ultra, instructors can access and create these through the Site Management panel, as shown below:
This panel does not exist for students on NILE sites. If you have used this panel to create Blogs, Journals, Discussion Boards, etc. it is important to add links elsewhere on the site so that your students can access them too. These are called Tool Links in Blackboard Learn.
Although the main menu in a site should be kept as close as possible to the original template, it may be helpful to add one or two links to tools which will be used frequently in your module. For example, a link to the Collaborate Ultra scheduler has become a common appearance, usually named 'Virtual classroom'. It is also worth noting that while it has already been created for you, the Announcements section in a module site is an example of a Tool link.
Below are the steps to create your own Tool link in the menu:
- Click on the plus sign at the top left of the site menu and select Tool Link:
- Complete the fields. The Name is what your students will see. The Type is the tool you wish to link to. Ensure you tick the box if you want your students to see the link straight away. Click the Submit button.
- The Tool link will appear at the bottom of the menu. Click to the left of the link and drag it to a suitable location for your students:
Sometimes it may be more appropriate to direct your students to tools at specific points within the module content of a NILE site. For example, within a folder for a week or topic when you wish students to undertake a particular activity. You can have multiple links to the same tool in some cases. When linking to discussions, you can choose a single forum. When linking to a journal, you can keep linking back to the same journal, but include different instructions on the link; "this week, write down your...". Below is a step by step example of creating a tool link to a Journal.
- Navigate to the area you wish to place your link. This example is within a folder called "Topic 1 - weeks 2-5" in the "Module activities" section.
- From the action bar at the top of the screen, choose Tools>Journals
- This example is to Link to a journal which has already been created. Ensure that option is selected and highlight the journal in the list. Click on Next to continue.
- The Link Information section can read differently to the Journal title and Instructions entered when creating the journal originally. In this example, the link is to "Reflective Journal" but the Link Name can be different to make more sense for the student. The Text can include specific instructions based on the location of the link. This example is asking for a starter thought before the rest of the content for that week or topic. Fill out the details as you wish and click Submit to create the link.
- The resultant link appears in the content area chosen at the beginning of these steps. It provides clear instructions to the student and is in line with other relevant content or activities in the "Topic 1" folder.