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Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning - Blackboard


Blackboard is WKU's Learning Management System (LMS), but what does that mean? Blackboard is the platform WKU faculty use to offer online courses or to supplement their face-to-face courses. If you are interested in teaching online or using Blackboard in your classes, you must first complete the Blackboard New Course Instructor and Creating ADA Compliant Course sites training to gain access to the system. See the IT Training Site to register for the New Course Instructor Training.

Mail icon to contact Once you have completed those two self-paced trainings, if you would like assistance with developing your courses in Blackboard, please contact CITL.

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See more about online course development here…

Communication Tools in Blackboard

There are four communication tools in Blackboard: journals, blogs, discussion boards, and wikis. Using these communication tools in your course can increase student interactions and build the learning community. In order to determine which tool would best meet the learning objectives, you should familiarize yourself with the features and potential uses for each. Following are some information of each tool and hope it is helpful. If you have any question about choosing which tool, please feel free to contact us.


Journals are self-reflective spaces where students post thoughts or experiences on course topics and get one-on-one conversations with the instructor. While it can be shared with other students, it is private by default. The private nature of journals offers students a safe environment to express themselves and receive individualized feedback. For example, a journal that only the individual student and instructor can access can be used as a way for students to reflect on sensitive topics in a less public way.


Blogs allow students to communicate their knowledge and opinions to others. Students can express their ideas and use feedback from the instructor and their peers to refine their thoughts. Although blogs can be set up to enable comments from other students, they're not the best tool for interactive discussion. Rather, they are an excellent way for individual students to share their personal experiences, reflect, and apply what they've learned.

Discussion boards

Discussion boards are online discussions that are organized hierarchically with forums, threads and replies. It is easy to use and give everybody the opportunity to contribute.

The key to using discussion boards effectively is asking the right type of questions. It is best suited for many-to-many communication where there is not a single answer to a question or problem. For example, open-ended questions, reflection, problem solving question, or the questions that can solicit relevant personal opinion and/or personal experience.


Wikis allow students to view, contribute, and edit content of course-related material in a collaborative area.

Wikis can be used for many-to-many communication, typically for collaborative projects. For example, ask a group of students to create a paper that explains a theory that was discussed in your course.


Blackboard Mashup Tools

Blackboard Mashup tools are the tools available on the Mashups button of the text editing box in Blackboard.


Youtube LogoYouTube.com allows for the sharing and viewing of videos online. Also it should be noticed that both instructors and students can use YouTube to record and share videos in Blackboard.

Note: YouTube videos may not be accessible from the network of some high schools and military. Be aware of this if you have military students or high school students.



Slide Share icon
Slideshare.net allows you to upload and share PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF portfolios publicly or privately.


Flickr Logo
Flickr.com allows for the sharing and viewing of photos and images.


Blackboard Mobile Learn (iOS, Android)

Blackboard Logo This app allows access to most of Blackboard's content from anywhere including announcements, discussions, grades, blogs, and journals. Check out Blackboard Mobile Learn website to know more information.


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 3/6/20