Saturday, January 30, 2010

Using the Subscribe Feature on Blackboard

This school year I have found myself teaching more classes than ever. With the economy being as it is, it's hard to pass up work--especially when my husband may not have a job for much longer.

With all these extra classes, additional measures of organization have had to be made as well. I have this awesome master list on Microsoft OneNote that has put the organizational aspects of teaching on autopilot. (But that's another blog post entirely.)

One of my biggest weaknesses in online instruction is keeping up with the discussion boards. It's tough, because as much as I want my students to use them to participate in class, when I go into the boards a couple of times a week, I become overwhelmed with all the reading and find it difficult to actually particpate in the discussion.

I remember at the last Blackboard training I went to that there was an option for a subscriptions, so I started exploring how I could implement that tool. Here's what I found:

Go to the "Discussion Board"

Click on "Modify" next to the forum you wish to enable subscriptions to.

Under 3: Forum Settings, scroll down to the Subscribe menu.
Choose to allow subscriptions to threads or forums. If you choose to include forums, decide whether or not you'd like the subscription email to include the body of the post or just a link to the post.

Having subscribed to all my discussions, I'm looking forward to seeing how much more efficient I am with participating on the discussion boards.


Anonymous said...

I make subscriptions available only for question forums. I found that it's more hassle to get all those postings in my mailbox than to do to the DB and just click on unread messages and skim through them all at once.

Reading the subscribed comments in email doesn't provide for responding because it doesn't work. It's never worked. Just another tech glitch that BB can't seem to fix.

With many postings every day, it's easier to just spend 10 minutes a day reading the new postings. Just click on the number that shows how many unread messages and they automatically open in one screen. I scroll through quickly (I speed read so it doesn't take long -- I do it between 5 and 5:30 am every morning).

I don't respond to individuals in THEIR discussions. But about three times a week I post an additional question or resource and I respond individually to every student who replies to the extra postings of mine.

And I tell students from the first day that I do NOT ask rhetorical questions :-)

My suggestion is to not waste time with subscriptions. Your mailbox will be overfilled every day. Just one quick click in the DB opens all unread messages at one time. Spending 10-15 minutes a day skimming new messages is much more efficient than reading in email.

For more time management tips when teaching multiple classes online, check out my blog.

Good luck - email me anytime if you want to do some brainstorming on cutting time when teaching online and still being the most effective instructor your students have ever had!!

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