Organisations are spaces on Blackboard that look the same as a course (module) but are used to disseminate information rather than for teaching.
They are often used as a programme page – a space on Blackboard on which all the students studying for the same degree are enrolled. Thus enabling staff to communicate with all the students as one. The following instructions are designed for setting up such a programme page within the BSS college.
Plan your organisation
As you work through these instructions you may wish to book some time with the TEL Team to ensure the smooth running of your organisation.
1. Name your organisation
What do you want your organisation to be called? Without this we cannot create it so be sure to include this in your initial email. When naming your organisation you should consider:
- Don’t use jargon or abbreviations – they may not have meaning to your intended audience or may hinder people when they search for your organisation.
- Plan ahead and do not include the academic year so you can re-use your organisation every year.
- Are you attaching more than one degree programme to your organisation? Be sure to choose a name that is meaningful to the students.
2. Designate the organisation owner
Organisations need attention and maintenance every year. There must be one named person who will take responsibility for its care – this is likely to be the programme lead.
When your organisation is created we will add the name of the owner to a hidden administration area so those using the organisation know who to contact if needed.
3. Plan the student enrolments
Students can be enrolled either manually or automatically.
The organisation owner will be responsible for enrolling the students manually. This might be appropriate if there are not many students on your programme(s).
TEL can set up an enrollment feed from SITS to Blackboard. This will identify students enrolled on a degree programme and automatically enrol them onto your organisation. This might be appropriate if you have large number of students, or if your organisation is intended for multiple programmes.
To set up the enrolment feeds we need the code of the degree programme(s) whose students are to be enrolled on your organisation. (Note, the programme code is not the same as the module codes.)
The BSS College Office will be able to provide you with the programme codes if you do not know them.
4. Request your organisation
Send all of the above information to us and we will create your organisation, and if needed, create the student enrollment feeds.
Set up your organisation
The organisation owner is responsible for setting up the organisation ready for use.
1. Enrol the necessary staff
Staff can be enrolled as leaders (editing rights) or participants (no editing rights).
2. Populate the organisation with content
Content in organisations is created in the same way as content in courses.
3. Check the correct students have been enrolled
If you see something that doesn’t look right then let TEL know. Once the feeds are running you will see the enrolled students in the Users list and the code that denotes their programme and their year of study:
- 1 – first year
- 2 – second year
- P – placement student
- F – final year
4. Create student groups to aid communication
Once the students are enrolled onto your organisation you can create groups to divide them into specific groups, for example you may wish to create separate groups for first years, second years, placements and final years so you can send them appropriate information or divide up the content.
Note you cannot send announcements to a specific group – all students enrolled on your organisation will see all of the announcements.
Prepare your organisation for the new academic year
The organisation owner is responsible for ensuring the organisation is prepared for the new academic year.
1. Delete old announcements and old student enrolments
- The student enrolments must be deleted at the end of the academic year as their year code will change as they proceed to the next year, i.e. first years are now second years and so on.
- It is good practice to delete old announcements to prevent them causing confusion in the new year.
Use the Bulk Delete command to delete the old announcements and student enrolments in one action. (Note this will not delete instructor enrolments).
2. Update the organisation content
Check through the content of the organisation to ensure it is relevant to the new year and update it as needed.
3. Check the new enrolments
If you see something that doesn’t look right then let the TEL Team know.
Returning students – At the beginning of August student data will begin to roll over for the new academic year. In your organisation look in the Users list and you will see the returning students being re-enrolled onto the organisation with the new code denoting the next year of study.
New students – First year students will be enrolled once they have completed the university enrolment process. You should see them appear on the organisation in September and October.
4. Delete the old Blackboard groups and create new ones
Once the students have progressed to the new academic year the Blackboard groups from the previous year will be out of date, everybody will be in the wrong group and the new first year students will not be included.
You will need to delete your existing Blackboard groups and create new ones for the new academic year.
If you would like to discuss these instructions you can book some time with the TEL Team