Blackboard Instructor's Information for Fall 2020 courses on iLearn

This guide covers the following topics on getting ready to work with your iLearn course site in Fall 2020

  1. New Course Menu 
  2. Update on Copying Courses for Fall 2020
  3. Set up the "Videos (Panopto)" course area
  4. Use "Course Messages" to communicate with students instead of using emails
  5. Accessing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra recordings for courses prior to Fall 2020

New Course Menu

Starting from Summer 2020, iLearn course sites received a new course template. Find information below for the new and updated course menu items: 

Information for Instructors
This is a link to this ITFAQ article that introduces the change and provides guides on course site design, enhancing online communication with students, and options to provide learner support at a distance. Link is hidden from students. This guide is currently under development and it will be updated shortly

Getting Started & Syllabus
This where instructors will be making the course introduction before their first meeting with the students. They can include an introductory video to add their personal presence to the course, outline the purpose and the benefits of the course, and include a copy of the course syllabus

This is renamed from Lecture Notes since the Blackboard course site is now expected to hold all course content and not only notes from physical class meetings.

This is a combined course area to host all online assessment activities. Previously represented by the two items Assignments and Quizzes / Exams.

Videos (Panopto)
This is renamed from Recorded Lectures to clear any confusion between Panopto pre-recorded videos and online class meetings on Blackboard Collaborate.

Blackboard Collaborate
This is a link that will take students directly to the Blackboard Collaborate course tool. 

Send & Read Messages
A link to take both faculty and students to an email like tool that lives inside the course site. Faculty have always complained about having to deal with hundreds of student emails in their AUS email inboxes. This tool provides a facility to keep course based communication within the course. Users can be notified by email or mobile notifications when they receive a course message.

Student Help & Support
This is an area preloaded with student support information from different sources like IT, AUS Library, Academic Support Center, and Writing Center.

Update on Copying Courses

The new course menu has some of the content areas renamed, combined, or removed. If you would like to make full use of the current menu design, you will need to rename menu items in your source course to match the new menu items on the new course menu.


Check the above illustration. The course menu on the right hand side represents your course you are copying from (the course course). The menu on the left represents the course you are copying to (the destination course). You will need to do the following in the source course and before you make a copy of the course: 
  1. Rename the menu item "Syllabus" to "Syllabus and Getting Started". This will make sure that the contents of the "Syllabus" area on your source course goes into the "Syllabus and Getting Started" area in the destination course
  2. Rename the menu item "Lecture Notes" to "Content"
  3. Choose of the "Assignments" and "Quizzes / Exams" and rename it "Assessments". When you copy the course make sure that you select the area you renamed as "Assessments" and leave the other one unchecked. This way, the area you renamed will have its contents copied to the "Assessments" area in the new course. However, this will require you to manually recreate the contents of the area you left behind -in the "Assessments" area of the new course
  4. Items marked by number (4) have no corresponding matches on the new course menu. Please delete "iLearn FAQ" & "Help" before you copy the course as these will create redundancy on the new course. These two areas have been replaced by the new single area "Student Help and Support". You may keep "Library Resources", or delete it and then recreate its contents in a new folder on the "Content" area

Set up the "Videos (Panopto)" course area

Starting Summer 2020, instructors had to set up the course site with Panopto:

  1. Click on the menu item Videos (Panopto)
  2. You should get the message "This course is not provisioned with Panopto. Before a course can be used with Panopto it must be setup". You will also see a button that reads "Configure"
  3. Click on the Configure button and follow the instructions on the screen. After you are done you should be able to access the Panopto folder for your course site
  4. Once the course is configured with Panopto, you should make the menu item available to students. Click on the menu option button and select Show to students


Use "Course Messages" to communicate with students instead of using emails

Many faculty members would like to find a more efficient way to communicate with students other than using their own email. It could be challenging to organize and keep track of emails received from students attending different sections. Course Messages provides an email like communication tool that resides on the course site. We added Course Messages Right on the course menu. Here is how it looks:


Encourage or even require your students to use Course Messages in case they need to send you a message. You may include that requirement in your course syllabus. Here is an example: 

In the event you would like to communicate with me outside the course class meetings, please use the Course Messages tool in your course site to send me a message. This is a replacement to email communication as it's easier for me to keep track of all your course related communication.

Here are few quick guides to get you started with Course Messages:

  • To know more about Course Messages, check this Blackboard Help Article
  • You may opt-in to receive an email notification once you receive a course message. You will need to edit your "Course Message Received" notification setting. Check this quick video guide for details. You may also forward the video guide link to your students to do the same
  • You can also forward this quick video guide  to your students or simply add a link to it in your course site

Accessing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra recordings for courses prior to Fall 2020

Our Blackboard Collaborate Ultra platform moved from one cloud location to the other on July 28, 2020. All old session recordings and reports won't exist on the new platform. Old recordings and session reports will still need to be accessed on the old platform. We have created a specific Control Panel course tool that allows instructors to access this old information. This ability is available through December 31, 2020.

For more information check this FAQ article