Glossary of Terms

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An Announcement is a note which is posted using the Announcements tool. An Announcement assists students in feeling a connection to the instructor and the course and may be useful in providing reminders and special instructions.
Archive Course creates a permanent record of a course including all the content and user interactions. Archived courses are saved as .ZIP files with the following file naming structure ArchiveFile_Course_ID_date/time_stamp.ZIP. Archive Course is useful to maintain a record of a course after it has been taught. Archive files must be downloaded from Blackboard in order to be saved and used later.
a measure of individual learning for various purposes, including a determination of readiness for learning, monitoring progress, and measuring achievement after instruction.
Assignment feature
An Assignment feature is a type of assessment in which students may upload documents directly into the Blackboard Gradebook. The Instructor may download the documents, review the assignment, enter a grade and provide feedback to the student, all through the Gradebook.
Asynchronous learning is learning not done at the same time. In Blackboard, Asynchronous learning includes an individual student reading or viewing materials, as well as communication such as e-mail, discussion boards and voicemail or snail mail letters.


the process of comparing curricula and other organizational information with best practice programs.
Blackboard is the course management system used by Columbus State Community College. Each course offering automatically has its own space in Blackboard called a Live Shell. Blackboard is a web-based application so in most instances, a student can access the Live Shells using only a web browser.
A browser is a software application that enables a user to access and interactive with text, images and multimedia files from any computer connected to the Internet. Popular browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari.


Chair Access / Instructor Access / ZZ Access
Every live shell in Blackboard automatically has a special user enrolled with the name of "Instructor ZZ_Access" and the role of Instructor. E-mails cannot be sent to this user. The chairperson in each department controls the username and password for this user.
Chat / Virtual Classroom
Chat and the Virtual Classroom are collaboration tools found in Blackboard. They can be used to hold real-time (synchronous), online classroom discussions and question/answer forums. Chat, also known as Lightweight Chat, is simply a text-based, instant message-type of tool. The Virtual Classroom is more robust and, in addition to including the text-based chat, allows faculty to share websites and drawings with an interactive whiteboard.
Collaboration is a Blackboard tool which includes Lightweight Chat (or simply Chat) and Virtual Classroom.
Content Area
Content Areas are the main source for course material in a Blackboard shell. They can be added, renamed, re-ordered and removed from Manage Course Menu in the Control Panel. Content Areas contain a variety of items, including text, links, files, folders, assessments, and learning units.
Control Panel
Faculty manage their Blackbaord shell via the Control Panel. They can modify menus, materials, assessments and the gradebook in the Control Panel. It is accessed via a button below the course navigation menu. It is only visible to users with the role of Instructor or System Administrator.
Course Banner
A Course Banner is a graphic image, no larger than 110px by 550px, which represents the course subject. The Course Banner only displays over the Announcements area of the course.
Course Cartridge
A Course Cartridge is a collection of publisher-created materials which may be imported into Blackboard course shells. Often times, materials are actually located on the publisher's website and the cartridge merely adds links to these items. Cartridge materials often require an access key or outside registration on the part of the student.
Course Copying
Course Copying takes all, or some, of the material in one shell, either Live or Development (see definitions below), and copies it into another shell, once again either Live or Development. This means you will not have to recreate your course material every time you have a new, empty Blackboard shell.
Course Map
Course Map is a tree view of the folder structure of all course contents, making it possible for the user to navigate directly to a particular location in the course. It is accessed via a button below the course navigation menu.
Course Navigation Menu
The Course Navigation Menu consists of a series of links or buttons along with left-hand side of each Blackboard course. These links allow access to the different Content Areas and Tools within the course.
Course Number / Course ID / Synonym Number
If you are asked for the course number, course ID, or the synonym number, the information that is being requested is the 5-digit number, i.e. 70001 or 79854.
a large body of organized and sequential instruction, consisting of programs and courses. May also refer to the aggregate of modules or courses directed toward a common goal of a given organization, or a collection of required readings.


Delivery system
a means of organizing, presenting, or distributing instruction, typically employing a variety of media, methods and materials.
A test or survey is considered to be deployed when a link to it has been created in a Content Area via Add Test or Add Survey. When a test or survey is deployed, a column in the Gradebook is automatically created. By default, a deployed test or survey is unavailable to students. Faculty must modify the test or survey options in order for it to be accessible by students.
Detail View
This view of the course navigation menu displays the folder structure of all course contents, making it possible for the user to navigate directly to a particular location in the course.
Discussion Board
The Discussion Board is one of Blackboard's asynchronous communication tools. In a Discussion Board, faculty and students can exchange ideas on a topic, post requests for assistance or conduct informal conversations. With a discussion board are Forums which must be created by the instructor. Forums may be broken down by topic, week, unit or assignment. Within the Forums are Threads which represents a conversation. A new Thread is created by either the instructor or student and both instructors and students may reply to the thread to generate a line of conversation.


Emerging technologies
new techniques, tools and equipment used in designing or delivering instruction, including virtual reality, electronic performance support systems, and multi-user object-oriented domains.
the process of determining the adequacy, value, outcomes and impact of instruction and learning (adapted from Seels and Richey, 1994, p. 128).
The Export Course feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported into Blackboard and used to teach another course with the same content. Exported courses are saved as .ZIP files with the following file naming structure ExportFile_Course_ID_date/time_stamp.ZIP. It is important to note that, unlike the Archive Course feature, Export Course packages do not include any user interactions with the course - it only includes the content of the course. Export files must be downloaded from Blackboard in order to be saved and used later.


Information provided to learners about the correctness of their responses to practice questions in the instruction.


The Blackboard Gradebook is the central location for storing student grades. Items to grade within the Gradebook may be manually added or may be attached to an online assessment such as a quiz or an essay assignment. Grades within the Gradebook may be entered or displayed as scores, percentages, letter grades or even text. Items within the Gradebook may be included or excluded from the total points possible and may also be made available or unavailable to students. Students are able to access their grades via the My Grades tool. The grades in the Gradebook DO NOT automatically upload into CougarWeb or Datatel.


Hybrid Course
A Hybrid Course is a course which is offered partially online and partially in person, such as in a lab, clinical or classroom. Some hybrid courses may require proctored testing which may be completed at the Testing Center or other approved proctored environment.


a planned process that facilitates learning.
Instructional design
systematic instructional planning including needs assessment, development, evaluation, implementation and maintenance of materials and programs. Related Term: Instructional systems design.
Instructional Design
Instructional Design is a systematic instructional planning including needs assessment, development, evaluation, implementation and maintenance of materials and programs. Related Term: Instructional systems design.
Instructional design theory
a set of scientific principles relating to instructional methods, learner characteristics, learning environments, and outcomes. Typically derived from or tested by empirical research.
Intellectual property
the technological or process knowledge and capabilities that an organization or an individual has developed. Typically protected by copyright.


a relatively stable change in knowledge or behavior as a result of experience (Mayer, 1982, p. 1040).
Learning style
an individual's preferred means of acquiring knowledge and skills. Related Terms: Cognitive style, multiple intelligences.
Learning Unit
Blackboard Learning Units are a type of content which may be added to a Content Area. Items placed within a Learning Unit, including items, links and assessments, are sequential, allowing for students to follow a structured path. The sequential path may be enforced, meaning the path is strictly linear and a student must view each page in the desired order.
Live Section/ Live class / Live course / Live Shell / (your or my) Class / (your or my) Course
All non-canceled sections of a scheduled course automatically have a course shell created in Blackboard. By default, each shell will be empty. However, materials may be copied (See Course Copying) from another shell into the live shell. Only faculty have access to the live shells until four days before the beginning of the quarter when students are added.
Locked Out
A student is considered to be Locked Out of an exam when, while taking it, something causes them to lose connection to the exam and they are unable to complete it. Locked Out can only occur on exams that have Forced Completion enabled. If Forced Completion is not enabled, a student is able to go right back into the exam and continue it. Please Note: a lock appears in the Gradebook whenever a student is in the progress of taking an exam. It does not mean the student is locked out. A locked out student will most often contact an instructor to ask that their exam be re-set. Do not automatically clear the attempt just because you see a lock.


the means by which instruction is presented to the learner. Typically classified in terms of the perceptual channels employed, such as visual or auditory media.
A simplified representation of a system, often in picture or flowchart form, showing selected features of the system.
An instructional package with a single integrated theme that provides the information needed to develop mastery of specified knowledge and skills, and serves as one component of a total course or curriculum.
Blackboard modules are information boxes appearing in the Blackboard portal after logging-in to Blackboard. These information boxes can be customized and the changes retained.
the integration of various forms of media for instructional purposes. Typically involving compuer graphics, animation, video, sound, and text.


A statement of what the learners will be expected to do when they have completed a specified course of instruction, stated in terms of observable performances. Also known as: performance objective; behavioral objective, instructional objective.
Organizational values
a stable set of long-term aspirations and actions that the organization uses to make strategic choices.
a detailed description of what learners will be able to do having completed a unit of instruction (Dick and Carey, 1996, p. 119).


Pools / Pool Manager
A test pool allows the Faculty Member to create and search collections of related questions. Questions can be grouped by any number of criteria, including topic, subject matter or difficulty of question. A question pool will generate a test of randomized questions from the database the Faculty Member creates. Pools can be created from (1) new questions or (2) made up of questions in previously written assessments. Faculty Members can create test pools using the Pool Manager located in the Control Panel.
Proctored Testing
Proctored Testing is monitored testing.


Quick View
This view of the course navigation menu displays a condensed view of the course. Only links to the content areas and tools under Manage Course Menu are displayed.


Recycle Course in Blackboard will permanently delete the selected content from a course in Blackboard.
An investigation conducted to identify knowledge that is generalized to many students at various times.
Respondus is a third-party software which assists faculty in developing and uploading exams and surveys into Blackboard. Students take those exams in Blackboard.
Review Status
Review status makes it possible for students to note within Blackboard when they have reviewed content items.
The process of producing an amended, improved or up-to-date version of a set of instructional materials.
A rule is a set of criteria that determines the visibility of the content item to users. If multiple rules are created, the content will be visible to the user if any or all the rules are met, depending on how the rules are applied.


Shell / Development Shell
If a faculty member wishes to develop materials a semester or more before a course is to be offered, she may request a "shell" or development course in which to upload and arrange course materials. All shells will never have students in them. Faculty can modify existing materials, add materials, and make any desired changes to these development courses and those changes will be saved. Faculty can request a shell through our online form at
The Snapshot is the process of uploading data from Datatel into Blackboard. Information contained within the Snapshot include users, courses, course assignments and student enrollments. Snapshot runs a minimum of once per day, usually around 8:00 AM.
Subject matter expert
a content specialist who advises or assists the designer.
Synchronous learning means learning which is done at the same time, although not necessarily in the same location. Synchronous learning includes a group chat (instant messaging) session, a video conference, students who are all together in the same classroom reviewing material together, or a telephone conversation.


Test Manager
The Test Manager is used to create, modify, and remove Tests.
Tools are built-in components in Blackboard, the most common of which are Announcements, My Grades, Send E-mail and Staff Information. Unlike Content Areas, Tools cannot be modified or supplemented.
A prespecified and planned experience that enables a person to do something which he or she couldn't do before.


Users/User Roles
A Blackboard user is anyone using Blackboard, whether she/he is teaching staff, students, or administrative staff. Though there are five types of users, there are only two that you need to be familiar with:
  1. Instructor: The Instructor role has the highest level of privilege within a course. Typically, the Instructor is the person developing, teaching or facilitating the course.
  2. Student: Enrolled students have access to all areas in the course that contain content and assessments. When the instructor matches the development shell to a scheduled course, student names are automatically added to courses by Registration and Records.


Visual Text Box Editor
The Visual Text Box Editor (VTBE) is the fancy text editor in Blackboard which resembles Microsoft Word. The VTBE can be disabled.
graphics or teaching materials that pictorially describe ideas or convey meanings, including items such as overhead transparencies, screen graphics, or icons. Related Term: Visual aids.


Web Accessibility
Web Accessibility is set of guidelines which ensures that content may be accessed by all students and faculty regardless of technology, disability or learning style. Examples of web accessibility include close-captioning video, providing alternate tags on images, designing web pages using industry standard practices and adhering to government guidelines such as ADA and Section 508.
Web Course
A Web Course is a course which is offered entirely online. Some web courses may require proctored testing which may be completed at the Testing Center or other approved proctored environment.