Having Groups in a Blackboard course can go far beyond just assigning group work. Think of it as a tool that virtually groups your students together by some common thread. Here are a few examples of using the Group functionality outside of its usual scope.
Extended Time on Quizzes/Tests
Each semester, you probably receive a list of students from the Services for Students with Disabilities office that require extra time on any timed quiz or test in the course. Instead of going through each quiz and test, adding the students, then setting the extended time for each student, you can do the following:
- Create a Manual Enroll Group under Users and Groups called “1.5X” or “2X”
- Make sure the group is set to not be visible to students and then add the appropriate users
- Now you can add the entire group to the Test Exceptions area under the Test Settings for each quiz/test and set the extended time just once
Bonus: If you copy the course to the next semester, the group will remain under the Test Exceptions area with the extended time so all you will have to do is add the new students to the group under Users and Groups.
Help Facilitate Communication
If you find the need to communicate regularly with specific students (for example: you have two merged sections, one is a group of MWF students and the other TTH students), you can place them into groups and use the “Single/Select Groups” option in the Send Email tool. There is also the ability to enable a discussion board for each group, allowing communication between group members as well as with you. This is separate from the course discussion board, which is available to all students in the course.
Create New “Grade Centers”
This can be especially helpful if you have several sections that are merged together in Blackboard with TAs or Graders in charge of different sections. By default, you can view the Full Grade Center, Assignments, and Tests; however, you can take it a step further and have your groups (section numbers, in this example) also listed here. When creating your groups, check the box next to “Create smart view for this group”. Next, go to Full Grade Center and click Manage, then select Smart Views. You will see your groups listed and by clicking the star under “Add As Favorite”, this will create a new clickable link under Grade Center which will provide you with the grade center for each specific group.
This is only a small number of ways that Groups in Blackboard can be used. Please reach out to your Instructional Designer for other suggestions or assistance. You may also find more information about Groups by visiting the Blackboard Help website.