As an online learner, you will encounter a number of new and exciting ways to obtain knowledge and information. We call the following set of technology-based learning aides the Online Learning Toolbox. While you may come across other tools and techniques, these are the core tools used by Concordia University.
Blackboard Course Management System (CMS)
Blackboard is the primary course delivery platform. All online classes take advantage of this rich learning resource. You will have a single log in location to access all of your course materials, as well as communicate with the instructor and your fellow classmates. Complete the Orientation to get a sense of the online resources that are available to you.
Email (electronic mail) is mail that is electronically transmitted by your computer. Email sends your messages instantaneously. Email within Blackboard is intended only for communication with the instructor and others in the course, and does not communicate outside the boundary of the course. It can be used to share ideas, ask questions or share documents (which can be attached to an email and distributed electronically). As a result, you will need to return regularly to your Blackboard site to retrieve and send email for your courses.
Threaded Discussion (Bulletin Board)
Threaded discussions, also known as bulletin boards, provide opportunities for learners to carry on "conversations" around specific topics even though individuals access the discussion at different times (asynchronously). Threaded discussions start with a topic proposed by an instructor or student, then others respond either to the question or statement, or to another response. This tool allows for new discussions outside of class, or for the continuation of discussions started in class. Unlike a real classroom discussion, you are not forced to respond immediately, so take a little time to reflect on the discussion prior to responding. This can make for a much more meaningful discussion for everyone.
Assignment Drop Box
Often your instructor will ask that you complete an assignment and "drop" into the assignment drop box. This tool will allow you to "drop off" your assignments during a permitted timeframe and will provide a date and time stamp for the file.
Your instructor may choose to use the course calendar tool, which is a feature inside of Blackboard. With this tool, the instructor can record key dates for classroom events and assignments. These items will be added to your personal Blackboard calendar. Be sure to check your course calendars regularly.
This Blackboard option allows you to follow your progress as recorded by the instructor in the course gradebook. You can also get statistical information on your performance.
Sometimes instructors will choose to make documents available to learners through Blackboard. In these cases, you will be directed to click on a link (word or picture) and your computer will download the file. If you have the application on your computer, the file will open automatically. If not, you will be prompted to download the file to your computer.