Hello and Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the U.S. My name is Klaire Marino. I work on Blackboard’s Product Marketing team and spend my time focused on the Content Management module (which some of you probably still fondly refer to as the Content System). In this role I get to spend a lot of time talking to clients about what they are doing with these cool tools in Blackboard Learn. I also talk to clients about new ways they can leverage these tools and get even more value out of them.
While these one-on-one conversations are great, there’s a lot to share so I wanted to bring that discussion to the blog so others could chime in as well. Let’s see how it works.
I put together a list of the 5 most basic ways clients are using the Content Management module (I will refer to it as the Content Collection) in Blackboard Learn; today I’m going to start with the first two:
#1 – One copy is all y ou need. One of the first things most clients try to impress upon instructors is that if they are using the same file in multiple classes (or sections) and they have the benefit of the Content Collection, don’t upload it multiple times. Save one copy in the system and just link to it. Links don’t change when you copy courses so it doesn’t matter how many times you copy a course you will still always be pointing back to that single file. This saves lots of space on the system — just think if you have a 0.5MB file which is used in five different courses! That would normally take up 2.5 MB of storage, but if you manage it centrally you save 2 MB.
#2 – Save time by updating once. If you follow the “one copy is all you need rule” then you have just set yourself up for even better efficiencies when you go to update your course content. Go back to the example of having one file used in five courses – if you have to make modifications to that file without the benefit of Content Collection, it would take you five times as long (locating the file and overriding the old one with the new)! But, with just one copy in Content Collection, when you update the one version, all courses that use that file are automatically updated. One update and you’re done! We all live busy lives and getting back that time in your day can come in handy. The other thing you avoid is what I hear clients call, “version soup” which means multiple versions of the same document in circulation. Most of the time, you won’t realize that’s the case until you hear it from a student or go to teach the content and find it’s from last semester. Conveniently, there is a log of all the places every file is being used (linked to) in Blackboard Learn so you can always quickly check that too (this feature is called 360 degree view).
There you go, two common ways that clients tell me they are regularly using Content Management tools to save time. Look for another post from me where I’ll talk you through three additional ways. In the meantime please share your experiences. What are your instructors doing? How did you educate and train them? Leave your comment below or email me, Klaire.Marino@blackboard.com.