Blackboard Learn – Task Feature

Blackboard has a tool called Tasks that allows instructors to create specific task lists for students. This is one way to provide a structured task-oriented approach to covering certain course content. The task feature used in the Blackboard Learn course I am designing will be a way for students to use an organized list to seek out essential information they need to know as a college student.

“Learning through inquiry” is a widespread approach in university education which encourages students to research a topic or problem and, by engaging in the process, helps them to develop both the knowledge of the area and the skills required to research it”.

(Ellis & Bliuc, 2016, p. 970)

If I use the achievement feature paired with the tasks, I can recognize students that seek out information and develop a deeper understanding and connection to the university. Additionally, “from a teacher’s perspective, the adoption of inquiry-based learning is often motivated by the desire to develop more engaged, constructive and student-focused experiences of learning” (Ellis & Bliuc, 2016, p. 971).

The task feature can be used within modules or content areas.


Ellis, R. A., & Bliuc, A.-M. (2016). An exploration into first-year university students’ approaches to inquiry and online learning technologies in blended environments. British Journal of Educational Technology47(5), 970–980.

Blackboard Learn – Achievements

“The Achievements tool in Blackboard allows instructors to issue achievement badges or
course completion certificates based on specific criteria that the instructor designates” (EDTECH News – Teaching with Technology Today, n.d.). By creating achievements in Blackboard, instructors can incentivize the course through a digital badge for course completion, milestones within the course, or customize how learners acquire badges. When creating the achievement information, instructors have the opportunity to define the rules that will be used to achieve the digital badge.

The following are screen shots from Blackboard on setting up an achievement. In order to setup and achievement, the instructor must have content created. Achievements can be attached to a specific assignment or series of assignments, if they are in a module. For Blackboard courses that have a grade book and use assignments with grades, achievements can be attached to a grade. For example, completing a unit of instruction with 80% accuracy on the lesson’s assessments. In order to successfully complete the assessment, the learner must demonstrate competency of the instructional material (e.g. lectures, presentations, videos, worksheets, discussion posts).

Select criteria for the rule to accomplish the level and achieve the badge.

When the instructor browses the list of content, they are able to assign the specific content with the achievement.

Digital Badge Design. Each badge will identify the level and the name of the Level, for example “Islander Pride”.


(n.d.). EDTECH News – Teaching with Technology Today.

Blackboard Learn – Customize Content

Uploading a Video as a File

Blackboard allows instructors to customize the content title, instructions and materials used for the course. I was able to change the color of my content page title. This adds a different feature for Blackboard instead of black text. A legend can be created and introduced early on in the class that titles in a certain color are for specific items (e.g. videos, PowerPoint, worksheets, etc.). Another feature I explored in customizing the content pages was uploading a video directly into the content area. Instructors can upload files directly into Blackboard or they can upload their file to YouTube and use the feature of a YouTube link.

Some benefits to uploading the video file directly into Blackboard is that students are able to view the video within the screen they are viewing. A downfall of this is the bandwidth and amount of time it takes for the video file to upload so the student can watch it. Another downfall that I explain in my video is the dimensions of the video as the video constraints are small, even after being adjusted.

When considering using a YouTube video, there is a feature within Blackboard that allows instructors to upload YouTube files directly in Blackboard. A downfall to this feature is that videos must be public so you can search for them in the YouTube search box within Blackboard. If you choose not to make the videos public and save them as unlisted, you will have to upload an image into the content box and hyperlink the image to the YouTube link.

Learning Management System – Badging

“Being rewarded is a powerful extensive motivator” (Blackboard). Learning Management Systems provide learning tool interoperability (LTI) that rewards and recognizes student achievement through digital badging. “Badges, a form of micro-credentialing, provide a means to recognize and showcase evidence of acquisition of specific skills” (Zucker & Hicks, 2019, 114). Additionally, “badges often employ principles of gamification, which an encourage competition” (Zucker & Hicks, 2019, p. 114). Badges can also be used to assess students and replace the traditional method of providing a grade. With badges students see achievement of skills. For example, creating badges for levels of competency throughout a course. Badges can be specifically designed to match learning outcomes for the courses.

Blackboard achievements allows instructors to “create opportunities for students to earn recognition for their work” (Blackboard). Rather than students focusing on a letter grade to assess their demonstration of competency, a badge creates an authentic and effective method to recognize skill achievement. There are several badging platforms and they can be viewed on Badges Wiki. Choosing the most appropriate badging platform and icons is important. Badges can be viewed privately or shared publicly with other users within Blackboard or on social media.

When using a digital badge system, faculty can create specific structured paths assigning badges to each level within that particular path. This allows for student-centered approach and the student is invited into their education by choosing the path they are most interested in. Each badge would include information on how to earn the badge. Instructors can create badges with specific deadlines for students to achieve them or can balance high achievers and low achievers by creating badges that can be obtained throughout the course and low achievers can still reach level 1-2 while high achievers might go after Levels 4-5. Students express varying experiences and perspectives related to how much they learned from online courses. Some students barely read course material and respond at the lowest level, while other students read thoroughly, add in-depth discussion responses, and seek to master the content by the end of the course. Badges will allow students to determine the level they wish to achieve and how much work it will take to achieve that level.

Achievements | Blackboard Help


Zucker, L., & Hicks, T. (2019). Alternative Assessments, Unintended Consequences: The Promise and Peril of Digital Badges. Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship & Pedagogy29(1), 113–123.

Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) – VoiceThread

In a study regarding student perceptions of high-quality online learning findings revealed:

“students’ perceptions of a high-quality course were dependent upon continual communication with the instruction, a predetermined method of connecting students with one another and students’ ability to express their opinions. Different group activities and the use of technology allowed online learners to make humanistic connections with other students and the instructor.

Bickle, Rucker, & Burnsed, 2019, para. 1

Online learning provides the platform for learning, interaction, and accessibility outside of restricted times or locations. While this is true, “the students’ ability to learn, regardless of course content delivery method (i.e. traditional face-to-face or distance education), is dependent in part on a concept known as social presence” (Bickle, Rucker & Burnsed, 2019, para. 7). There have been different definitions of social presence; however, the most recent and appropriate to learning was developed n 2003 by Garrison and Anderson, “the ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally as “real” people into a community of learners” (Bickle, Rucker & Burnsed, 2019, para. 9). Online learning is isolating in nature as learners sit behind a computer or mobile device and a higher importance needs to be placed on the social presence within the online learning curriculum.

One way to accomplish this is by utilizing the learning tools interoperability (LTI) within learning management systems (LMS). For example, Blackboard Learn has several LTI available for instructors to add on to their course. With LTI integrations students do not have to use a second set of login information but are able to seamlessly connect to the add on within their LMS. One LTI that brings a social presence is VoiceThread. “VoiceThread is an interactive, cloud-based, multimedia slideshow tool designed to stimulate student-learning engagement” (Bickle, Rucker, & Burnsed, 2019, para. 12). VoiceThread is free and easy to use. Students can create slides in PowerPoint, Google Slides or Canva and upload them into VoiceThread. Students will share the URL link within a discussion forum and other students can leave voice comments instead of text comments. VoiceThread addresses the problem with online discussion which has been lack of participation, engagement and depth of thinking (Weigel, 2019). By using VoiceThread students can perceive and express emotion giving the communication a more realistic interaction. Additionally, “the enhanced expression and sense of real-time communication also seem to build a more cohesive group within the online classroom and increased community feel among the group (Weigel, 2019, p. 31). One downfall to VoiceThread is that students do not always like the way their voice sounds so they are hesitant to leave a voice comment.

In the image below the half circle graphic are the ways students can interact with the content on the slide. The microphone is audio recording and the camera is a video comment.

Example of VoiceThread (Click to visit VoiceThread)

The following VoiceThread was created for IDET 5300 Instructional Design & Foundation course at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.


Bickle, M. C., Rucker, R. D., & Burnsed, K. A. (2019). Online Learning: Examination of Attributes that Promote Student Satisfaction. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration22(1), 1.

Weigel, C. (2019). A Comparison Between VoiceThread and Text-Only Discussions in an Online Course. Radiologic Science & Education24(1), 29–38.

Overview of Blackboard LMS

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are online softwares that allow an organization to house information for users. “The role of a Learning Management System varies depending on the organization’s objectives, online training strategy, and desired outcomes (Pappas, 2017, para. 2). LMS allows for organizations to store and track information. A couple of LMS include Blackboard, Canvas, Google Classroom, and Moodle. Each bring different platforms and engagement experiences for the user.

Blackboard is an LMS that can be used in higher education, K-12, government and business organizations. A free version of Blackboard is Blackboard Coursesites and a paid version is Blackboard Learn. Blackboard is a virtual learning environment that is web-based. Some of communication benefits of Blackboard include announcements, chat functions, discussion board, and email. The content that can be shared through Blackboard includes course content such as articles and assignments, calendar feature, learning modules, assessments, grade book, and a media library.

Blackboard can be accessed through the web on a desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Blackboard is also an app available for iOS and Android users to download. By having access to content, community, and learning experiences virtually, Blackboard allows a platform where education can be attainable at any age, location, or time of day unlike traditional face-to-face education which requires a specific time and location.

Through discussion forums, learners can engage with one another through responses to critical questions, start discussion threads and share thoughts, links to informative articles, and provide feedback on assignments. Blackboard also allows for groups to be setup within the course and those groups can have their own discussion boards. This is a great feature for group assignments without having to use an outside platform such as emails or text messages. When using external communication platforms, the instructor is not privy to the discussion. In some instances, students in a group experience difficulties or need guidance and using the discussion forum allows for the instructor to see what is communicated within the group without needing to be cc’d later.

Blackboard allows for customization to the left navigation so that each instructor can label and identify the specific course content as they see is appropriate. For example, some instructors have a syllabus link, start here, announcements, discussion forum, and then weekly module breakdowns. Other instructors have links for chapters, blogs, course schedule, and WebEx access. The flexibility in the left navigation makes the course accessible according to learner priorities.

Examples of Blackboard Left Navigation Menus


Pappas, C. (2017, December 3). What is a learning management system? LMS basic functions and features you must know (2019 update). eLearning Industry.

Week 4 – Reflective Journal

Chapter 14 Summary

“Human performance improvement (HPI) vision is to achieve, through people, increasingly successful accomplishments that are valued by all organizational stakeholders’ those who perform, their managers and customers, their peers and colleagues, shareholders, regulatory agencies, and ultimately society itself” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 122).

  • Human – centered on efforts and results of people operating in work settings (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018).
  • Performance – the accomplishment or execution of something ordered or undertaken
  • Improvement – making things better

This is improvement and there is a current focus because “as the knowledge and performance capabilities of populations improve, so, too, the economic successes of countries and their peoples” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 123). There must be a priority put on works and managers accessing and sharing information in a timely manner (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018).

HPI consultants are account managers, investigators and work close with clients (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 126). The focus on return on investment (ROI) for learning brings more necessity for HPI professionals. HPI professionals are becoming more visible within organizations.

Chapter 16 Summary

Informal learning can be seen during exhibit interactions at a museum, looking up medical conditions online and learning about professional careers at networking events (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). While informal and formal learning are defined differently, they interact with one another in important ways (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018).

“Informal learning plays a central role in effective transfer, as workers receive guidance and coaching on their attempts to apply skills in the workplace, build confidence through repeated successes in the workplace, and expand the scope of work they can handle by observing coworkers and through online resources, such as reference and user materials, follow-up tutorials, and performance support systems.”

(Reiser & Dempsey, 2018, p. 143)

Examples of independent learning experiences created by instructional designers:

  • Preparing case studies
  • Developing content or documentation
  • Guided tours
  • Providing a list tips and tricks
  • Tutorials
  • Gaming and simulation activities
  • On-the-job training
  • Performance support systems

Methods instructional designers promote informal learning

  • Lunch and learn programs
  • Insights from meetings
  • Organize seminars, symposia, conferences, and webinars
  • Coaching programs
  • Communities of practice
  • Mentoring programs

Informal learning can be facilitated through technology (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). Informal learning can be used to help strengthen current skills through exploratory learning with new programs and tools. As an instructional designer, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest tools to develop products.


Reiser, R.A. & Dempsey, J.V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. (4th. ed.). Pearson: Boston, MA.

Week 3 – Reflective Journal

Chapter 10 Summary

“Assessments, be they multiple-choice items, essays, or products developed by the learners, should require learners to demonstrate the skills as they are described in the objectives in the instruction” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 87). There are two evaluation concepts: formative and summative.

Assessment and feedback: Types of assessment - Learning and teaching  essentials - Elevate - Staff - The University of Sheffield
Information obtained from:

There are several evaluation models that were developed in the 1970s and 1980s (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017).

  • Stufflebeam’s CIPP Evaluation Model
  • Rossi’s Five-Domain Evaluation Model
  • Chen’s Theory-Driven Evaluation Model
  • Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model
  • Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method
  • Patton’s Utilization-Focused Evaluation

“Evaluation is important because it is part of all models of instructional design” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 94).

Chapter 11 Summary

Learning technologies have an impact on workplace learning and performance (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017). There have been recent innovations that change how learning and professional development take place in the workplace.

Some of the barriers on why adequate evaluations are not conducted include the fear of what the results will reveal, the belief that evaluations are not needed, and evaluations are too simple and do not get into the depths of what needs to. be evaluated (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017). Using evaluations provides an accountable measurement of return of investment (ROI). As companies invest money into professional development, programs, and initiatives, it is essential they see the impact on employee behavior, productivity, and knowledge for the cost to provide the professional development and programs.

Chapter 13 Summary

Instructional designers in new positions are sometimes pout into the role of project manager or instructional project manager. The skills needed as an instructional designer are different than those of a project manager, so it is important to have experience and knowledge of a project manager. In some situations, the instructional project manager is working with developers who are all within the same location and in other instances the developers are located in various locations. In addition to the skills needed as an instructional designer, the instructional project manager must use project manager skills :to manage, motivate, and lead the team” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 112).

A key aspect for instructional project managers is to understand the communication between them and the subject-matter experts (SME). “As project manager, your main jobs here are to explain the limits and roles, interpret needs and wants, and settle disputes” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 116). The instructional project manager serves as the manger, the leader, and motivator (Reiser &b Dempsey, 2017). In times when everyone is not in the same location, using virtual platforms is necessary. This can include; emails, instant messaging, and videoconferencing. “Instructional project management is a complex human endeavor requiring psychology, management, science, and counseling” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 119).


Reiser, R.A. & Dempsey, J.V. (2017). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. (4th. ed.). Pearson: Boston, MA.

Week 2 – Reflective Journal Entry

Chapter 6 & 7 Overview

Chapter 6

“Regardless of the difference among psychological perspectives on learning, an underlying assumption of most is that instruction will bring about learning” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 52). There have been distinctions between “learning as an instructed process and learning as a cultural process” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 52). Culture plays a role in the learning process. People bring their cultural experiences and social norms into the classroom and learning experiences (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017).

Chapter 7

Constructivism is a common term heard within K-12 education (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017). Basic principles of constructivism include: active process of meaning-making, cognitive conflict or challenge, and learning as social activity” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 61).

Reiser & Dempsey, 2017,p. 62

Constructivism puts the job of learning on the learners rather than the teacher. There are some questions to consider such as:

  • Are the learners prepared?
  • Motivated and emotionally mature?
  • Prior knowledge to handle the environment?
  • Adequate access to information?

In addition to the concerns about constructivism, there are situations when constructivism is not the best approach:

  • Content consist of technical materials with fixed known rules
  • High stakes exam curriculum
  • Short time frame for preparation
  • environment is not learner-centered


Reiser, R.A. & Dempsey, J.V. (2017). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. (4th. ed.). Pearson: Boston, MA.