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Online and Distance Education at OISE

Add Course Content


Course Documents | Discussion Board | Course announcements | Customize Content Areas



Add Course Documents and other Content

A frequent use of a Learning Management System such as FirstClass or Blackboard, is to upload files like a Syllabus, Powerpoint presentations, Word documents, pdf files, etc.

The way to add content in Blackboard is to add an "Item".  

Items can be just text to give your students instructions for an assignment and it can include any file type on your computer.

To add information and/or upload a file in Blackboard, click on your course, select the Control Panel and then the Course Documents section.

My Course -> Control Panel -> Course Documents

If you want to keep your content organized, you might want to create a set of sub-folders first by clicking on "+ Folder".

If you want to create a link to a website URL address, do so by clicking on "+ External Link".

The most frequent option OISE faculty will use is to add an "+ Item". 

The recommended method of uploading and publishing files on the Portal is Linking to a Content Collection Item.

If you have a file that you use for multiple courses, or for the same course year over year, you can use the same file without having to re-upload each time by uploading your file directly to the "Content Collection".

If your course will need to have multiple documents or files, please consult the Portal Info website on Linking to the Content Collection for more information.

As always in Blackboard, make sure you click the final "Submit" button at the bottom of any page to save your changes.  


Discussion Boards, Online Web Forums

An online discussion that you may have had in a FirstClass conference or WebKF can also be achieved through the use of the Blackboard Discussion Board feature.

Blackboard automatically creates a main Discussion Board area by default to every course.

My Course -> Discussion Board -> Add Forum

As an instructor for your course, you have the ability to add and modify the discussion forums by clicking the "+ Forum" button.

You can create as many forums as you wish.  Each forum can have separate settings to achieve your learning objectives.  Each forum can be modified to help you achieve different results such as:

  • Conduct a standard open discussion between students
  • Restrict the ability for your students to delete what they have posted.
  • Allow file attachments so students can hand-in assignments and comment on other students' projects.
  • Allow students to start a new topic
  • Assess (grade) the forum and link to the Blackboard grading tool (Grade Centre)
  • Allow students to make anonymous posts
  • Let your students "subscribe" to the forum, which sends them an email every time there is a new post to the thread.


It is a good idea for the course instructor to begin each forum with the initial post in the discussion with suggestions as to how you wish your students to proceed.  This will clarify the direction you want the post to go in.


Make Course Announcements

Making a course announcement in Blackboard is easy and one of the fastest and best ways to communicate with your class about various things like important due dates, upcoming requirements for the next class, etc.  There is no more need to lookup a class list for sending an email announcements, it is all built-in to Blackboard.

My Course -> Control Panel -> Announcements


The Course Announcement menu is simiar to most content items in Blackboard.  You have the option to give your announcement a Subject (title) and include a message which can be formatted just like a Word document.

One of the best features of the Course Announcment tool is the ability to Email your entire class as well as having your announcement posted on your Blackboard site. 


A feature of the Course Announcement Tool is to reference a link to a particular part of your Blackboard course.  For example, if you post your Powerpoint presentations for week 3 in your Blackboard Course Documents section, you can link to that section/page right in the accouncement so your students know exactly where the information is you are referring to.


Cleanup and Customize the Content Areas

By default, Blackboard will create some common content areas or suggested tasks that you may want to use in your Blackboard course.  They are the main course menu provided on the left side of your course page.  These are simply suggestions, and you are free to use them if you wish, or modify, remove and even create your own custom sections.

My Course -> Control Panel -> Manage Course Menu

The default content areas are: Announcements, Course Information, Staff Information, Course Documents, Assignments, Discussion Board, External Links, Communication, Tools and Library Resources.

If you would like to add your own custom section to the main menu, click on the new folder icon labeled "+Content Area"

If you want to change the order that the menu items are displayed, just change the number from the drop down list, and click the OK button at the bottom.

It is recommended that if there are any sections that you do not plan to use for your course, that you remove the extra or unused links from the left menu.  That way your students won't be confused and expecting content in an area where you have not included any.

For example, if you are not using the Discussion Board feature, you can remove it from the side menu.  



Next Section in the OISE Blackboard Starter Kit: Make course available