What is it?
Connect is the new enterprise level online Learning Management System (LMS) on the Blackboard Learn 9 platform. It shares many similar features as WebCT and significantly expands your toolset as teachers and learners with the following new features:
- More intuitive interface that is easily customizable using drag and drop capabilities
- Enhanced communication features that enable instructors and students to reach each other
- Opportunities to student engagement and collaboration through wikis, gradable blogs and gradable rubrics
- New notification dashboards to keep both students and instructors informed of progress on assigned tasks and a customizable early warning system to identify at risk students
- Improved opportunities for sharing and linking external online resources to facilitate further exploration
- Enhanced content capabilities that make it easy to tag, reuse, share and edit digital content – even MS documents – in the course environment
- More efficient grading for instructors with gradable rubrics, needs grading alerts and customizable views into the new powerful grade centre
UBC is currently in Blackboard Learn 9 Platform SP9.
More information at http://elearning.ubc.ca/connect.
Uses and Benefits
Want to expand your classroom, engage your students and enhance learning? Connect offers you a number of new features that you can use.
At the same time, you will find that your course can look very similar and have a similar functionality to your course in WebCT Vista.
Explore the Vista-Connect Comparison Chart to see what the differences are between the two systems.
Watch the video below to find out what's new in Connect:
More intuitive interface that is easily customizable using drag and drop capabilities
- You can now drag and drop items you've added in your course's content areas.
- If you are unable to use the drag and drop feature, you can still reorder items in a course's content areas by using your keyboard.
- You can provide feedback and comments while reviewing your students' work in blogs, journals, discussions and wikis without going into the Grade Centre.
- Choose from over 50 themes for each course to give them individual looks and feels.
Enhanced communication features that expand the classroom by reaching out to students
- You can now send messages to external emails of any course participant including co-instructors, TAs and students.
- Students can now subscribe to Course Announcements and receive emails when a new announcement is created.
More efficient grading for instructors with gradable rubrics, needs grading alerts and customizable views into the new powerful grade centre
- You can easily create rubrics and associate them with any content or activity in your course plus it is easily shareable with students.
- With the Needs Grading feature, you can find out all course assignments or activities you still need to grade without going into individual sections in your course.
- With Smart Views, you can create custom views in the Grade Centre, focusing only the information you need.
Notification dashboards to keep both students and instructors informed of progress on assigned tasks and a customizable early warning system to identify at risk students
- Both instructors and students can customize their notification dashboards to easily learn what's been happening with all of your courses. For instructors, there is also an early warning system to help identify activities where students need more help or identify students who need more support.
- You can choose to receive notifications on any activity within your course either through the dashboard, via email or sent to your mobile phone.
Linking to External Content
Improved opportunities for linking to external content that can help expand the classroom
- You can extend the classroom with real world examples by integrating multimedia from services such as YouTube and Flickr.
- By toggling into the HTML view when creating items in the content areas, you can embed other external content from services such as Prezi and Vimeo.
Other universities are also using the Blackboard Learn platform for their online and blended courses.
The following are video tours of courses chosen to be a part of the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program whose goal is to identify and share best practices for designing online courses.
Although these courses might look different or use tools not available at UBC, they can help you visualize what to expect as well as inspire you on how to design your course.
- Human Resource Management
Cuyahoga Community College
- MBAA514 Strategic Marketing Management in Aviation
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Culture-Based Resources for Teaching Hawaiian History (CBRTHH)
- Web Design and Production
Kentucky Community & Technical College System
- BUS253 Leadership and Management Skills
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
- Oral Radiology
Texas Woman's University
- HS328 Investments
The American College
Walt Woerheide, PhD, CFP
- Organizational and Management Theory
University of Pittsburgh
Connect is currently on a wider release as WebCT Vista is phased out starting in May 2012. The process is expected to be completed by January 2014.
- "How to" Guides and other resources:
- Vista-Connect Comparison Chart
- A comparison of the different features between Vista and Connect
- Lynda.com Blackboard Essential Training
- A comprehensive online course on the functions and features of the Blackboard Learn 9 platform, which powers Connect. Take note though that the videos in this course are not specific to UBC or Connect.
Register at events.ctlt.ubc.ca for the ongoing Connect Institute sessions
- Help Desk at the Chapman Learning Commons, Level 3, Irving K. Barber Learning Center
- Virtual Drop-ins (Instructors Only)
- 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Mondays and 1:00PM – 3:00PM, Wednesdays
- All virtual drops-in will use Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging (BB IM).
- For more information, please visit Connect Drop-In Sessions on BB IM.
CTL Connect Workshops
Visit ubc.ca/okanagan/ctl/events to register for ongoing Connect workshops offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
- Faculty, Instructors, and Teaching Assistants
- 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Tuesdays, SCI200, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Science Bldg
- Student support is available in the Library in the Learning Commons area during specified hours. Students can also call 250-807-9611 (please specify that you are using Blackboard Connect at UBC's Okanagan campus).
- Ask students to update their emails in the Student Service Centre (SSC) in order to get course notifications and warnings. See Update Your Email in the SSC.
- Create low-impact practice activities for students to get them familiarized with the new system.
- Add the My Grades tool link to the left-hand side course menu in order to let students see their grades. See How to Create a Tool Link.
- Don't forget to update your email in the SSC so you can receive alerts and announcements from your instructor. See Update Your Email in the SSC.
- Concerned your assignment deadlines will pile up? Add alerts to the Notifications Dashboard to organize and plan upcoming assignments.
- Is your class missing something? Suggest to your instructor to add available tools, such as, a discussion board or class blog to keep the conversation going outside of class.